15th December 2015
In March 2015, The Boys’ Brigade and Girls’ Association commenced a new and innovative programme in rural Yorkshire and Mid/North Wales. Rural Challenge is linking with primary schools to develop after school provision for children aged between 4 and 11 years old, especially children who may currently struggle to access this type of provision for numerous reasons including lack of public transport. Over the next 8 months, 11 new units (groups) will commence providing 220 places for children to experience fun and exciting programmes including sport and recreation, arts and crafts, and community outreach/participation. The programme has been funded by Youth United and the Cabinet Office through the ‘Uniformed Youth Social Action Fund 2’; a fund that supports uniformed youth organisations to reach out to hard to reach children and young people.
Along with the creation of activities for children, opportunities will also be available for local volunteers to share passions and hobbies, develop new skills and make a positive influence in children’s lives.
Rural Challenge in both Yorkshire and North Wales has had a really good start with 5 schools signing up for the programme provision. The vision for the programme has certainly generated a sense of excitement and enthusiasm amongst Head Teachers, especially owing to the impact that the programme will not only have in these schools, but the wider communities as well. Indeed, one head teacher stated “I would like to make the school a central hub in this community and this programme would help us start that.” This is exactly why Rural Challenge has been set up, not only to run afterschool provision, but to make a positive difference in rural communities and most importantly, children’s lives. A parent in North Yorkshire stated “this is just what my child needs and she is really looking forward to going to Rural Challenge”. Groups have already started in Shotton, Ruabon and Brymbo (North Wales) as well as Middleton Tyas and Brompton on Swale (Yorkshire), with 2 to 3 more groups starting in the New Year. Over 100 children have already experienced Rural Challenge and in order to ensure that all children can access this provision, minibuses with disability access have been provided for transportation home.
Rural Challenge has also been very active through social media, making sure that people know about the programme. To find out more, information can be found on Twitter at @ruralchallenge and Facebook at Rural Challenge.
Written by John Myers, Project Manager, The Boys' Brigade