Tuesday 7th August, 2018

Growing with the Cambourne community

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38 years ago, Romsey Mill started working with young people, children and families facing disadvantage in the Romsey area of Cambridge.

Since then, the charity has increasingly been engaging young people, and partnering with groups outside the city, especially in the fast growing new developments and where the need is greatest.

One such area is Cambourne, 10 miles west of Cambridge, where development started just 20 years ago. Cambourne's population is already over 10,000 and rising. 

Young people growing up in new settlements, often face difficulties when trying to settle into a new community, and can end up struggling at school, feeling isolated, or can experience poor emotional wellbeing and mental health, and could be at risk of engaging in risky or criminal behaviour.

 

Romsey Mill works with Cambourne Youth Partnership, a local grassroots youth organisation, to help local young people who would benefit from the opportunity to take part in positive activities, receive mentoring support, or engage in an alternative education programme.

Romsey Mill has a team of 3 youth workers who engage with around 100 young people in Cambourne, each week, through detached youth work (where our youth workers meet with young people where they gather in the community e.g. skate parks, play areas, benches); four open-access youth clubs for ages 11-18; and targeted activities (e.g. music sessions and mixed football groups).

Jonathan Buwert, Romsey Mill’s Lead Youth Development Worker, based in Cambourne, said:  “Our youth clubs provide young people with a safe space to socialise, meet new friends, enjoy games and food, and find support from a team of youth workers and volunteers who care about them.“

“Through getting to know young people at these youth clubs, and while doing detached work on the streets on a Friday evening, we are able to gain an understanding of their needs and work with them, and in partnership with schools and other organisations, to offer support. We use music, boxing, football and other activities as part of the range of interventions which young people can access locally.”

 

Here are some comments from the young people themselves:

“When I moved here I didn’t have any friends. I found new people and had a chance to socialise through the youth club and now I have a lot more friends. The club gives me a chance to have a breather from the outside world. You can talk to youth workers about everything, not just stuff about school. I don’t feel scared about saying stuff to them; with certain people you don’t say some stuff to, but with youth workers you can get things out that you don’t normally get out.” ( participant at Middle Youth Club)

“Gives us a place to go and keeps us out of trouble” (participant at Senior Youth Club)

“I really enjoy the time I spend here and the people that I spend time with here” (participant  at Middle Youth Club)

 

Romsey Mill has been working with Cambourne Village College where we have been delivering our 5 week course “Shine”, designed to help young girls build self confidence and self esteem. Having a presence both on the streets of Cambourne, in the schools and at the youth clubs really helps our youth workers gain the trust of the young people and that is where our support work begins.

 

Romsey Mill engages with a number of local business organisations to support this work. Young people on the alternative education programme have met with local entrepreneurs and business people, such as Rural Coffee Project and Charlotte’s Ices.

Romsey Mill is also very fortunate to have the on-going support of local businesses Barons Cambridge BMW, based in Cambourne, who sponsor our annual charity golf tournament. 

Kevin Appleton, Head of Business at Barons Cambridge BMW said: “Barons is delighted to be partnering Romsey Mill, a key partner in our local community, and supporting them in their excellent work to create opportunities with disadvantaged young people, children and families. The Romsey Mill Golf Day is a key event in our community calendar and we are looking forward to a great day of golf and fun in aid of raising money for a very worthy cause.”

Barons Cambridge Mini also support Romsey Mill and did a great job raising funds and awareness of our work when they launched their “Make a Mini Difference" Christmas Appeal 2017, raising over £500.

If you would like to know more about Romsey Mill's work in Cambourne, feel you could volunteer your time or could contribute to our work in any way, please get in touch.  We would love to hear from you. Email development@romseymill.org