Harborough District Children and Young People's Charity

Harborough District Children and Young People's Charity

At a glance

Causes

  • Young people

Other details

Organisation type: 
Charity
Geographical remit: 
Local

Objectives

HCYC is a medium sized, local charity focused on delivering high quality play and youth work provision across Harborough District. This District covers 230 square miles of rural South Leicestershire, populated through numerous villages and hamlets, and with two towns of Lutterworth and Market Harborough.

We were formed in 2012 by a group of colleagues in the Children and Young People’s field in Harborough District in response to recognised gaps in provision and services, especially for the children and young people from isolated and disadvantaged communities in the area.

We gained charitable status in 2013 and have been delivering projects and services ever since in line with our Charitable Objects and Principles and following the priorities of our current Strategic Plan.

We rely on funding from a wide range of sources, predominantly grants, but additionally income from small contracts for play and youth work provision with Parish Councils, and delivery of play and youth work support for the District Council and other partners. Where we can, we engage in fundraising activities to further support our work, and all support with this is very welcome.

We are a small team of part time paid staff, with a bank of sessional staff, and volunteers. We are governed by a small Board of Trustees who are all volunteers and meet regularly with part time staff to monitor and evaluate delivery levels and quality of performance.

Quality provision which upholds and supports the rights of children and young people is the cornerstone of our work, and consequently support and supervision for staff is an important element within the organisation’s HR management processes.  

We are pleased that you have taken an interest in our charity and look forward to hearing further from you.

Activities

HCYC has been delivering the following across Harborough District:

The Chill Out Project - Regular evening or after-school play and youth work sessions in villages in the district, in partnership with Parish Councils. Currently we deliver in Great Easton, Fleckney and South Kilworth. We also run a young carers group in Market Harborough (with transport for those who live outside of the town) aimed at reducing the isolation and emotional impact on young carers aged 12 to 18 years.  We support approximately 60 young people each week through informal and fun activity sessions, which support emotional, developmental and social wellbeing. We also engage young people through one-off sessions or a short series of sessions in different villages or towns using The Chill Out Bus (our mobile project vehicle) subject to commissioned requests or where our own funding allows.

The Travelling Forward Project – Specialist play and youth work provision for local children and young people from permanent Gypsy and Traveller communities. Over the past year we have worked on three sites in the district supporting over 100 different children and young people aged 5 to 16 years.  As part of this project, we also deliver some sessions at schools that the young Gypsy and Travellers attend to support their integration and increase their pride in showcasing their culture amongst their peers.  We additionally run a Women and Girls group on one site with much interest in developing opportunities to access training and hosting its Travellers’ Tea events in their local community, to improve community cohesion and help reduce the significant tension between Traveller and non-Traveller communities.

The Speak Out Magazine Project – The views and ideas of a diverse range of local young people are captured and shared through this youth-led magazine group which tackles topics and concerns of interest to young people. All contributions and articles are written by young people aged 11 to 18 years, some of whom are involved in our other projects, and each edition of the magazine is collated and edited by a core group of young people that meet weekly. We distribute the magazine district wide, reaching an estimated 1,200 young people, and have targeted Special Educational Needs and Disability teams in local schools to encourage contributions from young people they support, to allow these young people’s often unheard voices to gain recognition.

Mentoring Project - HCYC's latest addition is to offer 1:1 mentoring support for young people know to the charity who would benefit from further support.  This project was designed to help respond to the identified growing concern around young people experiencing difficulties in their mental wellbeing.

Furthermore, HCYC works in partnership with Home-Start South Leicestershire to support the delivery of the weekly Young Parents Project, offering peer support and giving opportunities and ideas for families to play together with the aim of improving parental confidence, reducing isolation and aiding child development.

Children and young people are highly vulnerable to the effects of trauma, insecurities or other negative experiences, and this can have negative consequences on their emotional and mental health long into adulthood. Young people in rural areas are particularly susceptible to the isolation caused by the geography with its lack of public transport, and lack of youth specific support services within easy reach. Providing engaging activities that allow young people to channel energy and enthusiasm in a positive way can have a notable positive impact. Our provision is highly valued for providing a space and time for fun, safety and friendships. Traveller children and young people face multiple disadvantages such as being rurally isolated, facing social exclusion from neighbouring communities and wider communities due to their racial identity, subject to racial prejudice, facing multiple barriers to access opportunities for play, leisure and youth activities, presenting with significant literacy and numeracy needs, along with a general lack of access to information around health, personal development, and vocational opportunities. In 2021-22 we directly supported over 285 different young people between 5 and 18 years through all our projects (with 2,449 contacts through 235 sessions delivered), using both our mobile project vehicle and local community venues to deliver bespoke play and youth work sessions to local communities, especially those isolated by the rural geography. Evaluation records show children and young people’s positive reviews of our sessions. Partners and commissioners are also highly positive about our reliability and quality.  

Current opportunities

Trustees needed to oversee the work of HCYC in delivering play and youth work activities and support to vulnerable and isolated children and young...