OUR MAIN BUILDING
The Youth Centre was originally set up as a separate youth and community facility when the building was completed in the 1960s by Reema Construction Ltd. This remained the same until December 2001, when the Council took back possession of the community part. Between 2001 and the refurbishment of the site, half the building was completely unusable, and the rest was in a very poor state. Most people thought the building was closed whereas in fact there was a youth club operating in the building. The Youth Service decided to apply to the Government's MYPLACE programme creating world-class facilities for young people. Amazingly we were successful and were awarded £2million to completely refurbish the site and add the amazing facilities we have now, which includes a kitchen, music studio, soft play, and sensory room. The building reopened in September 2011.
YOUTH CONNECT SOUTH WEST
Youth Connect South West was formally an in-house B&NES Council service. The roots of the organisation come from two places; Youth Services, which have always been operated by Local Authorities, and the Careers guidance service known as Connexions. These services were merged to become an Early Help Targeted service and after a few years and changes in budget, the Council could no longer afford to run the Youth Service.
As a staff group, we felt passionate about our youth centres and the young people that attend them. We know how much of a difference these safe places make to young people’s lives, so we set about becoming Youth Connect South West, the organisation we are today. The organisation is set up as a registered charity and the company is registered at Companies’ House, but we are also a Staff Mutual. This means we are an independent organisation delivering early years help with funding support from the local authority.
In November 2019 we became Youth Connect South West with the aim of preserving and increasing youth services for B&NES and beyond.
Since 2019 we have seen dramatic times including a global pandemic. We are pleased to say that we have been able to maintain all our services and adapted them to meet the needs of young people. We have been congratulated by the Director of Public Health for continued adaptability and flexibility.
The organisation has grown, and we are now delivering 15 youth work sessions every week. We are also increasing our services for unemployed young people, including a College course and Realising Talent programme.
The support that all our programmes offer is going to be vital in the coming years when the true cost of the pandemic hits home.