31st July 2016
In June of last year, Youth United covered a story about the opening of a new Boys' Brigade Company in Stocksbridge which was funded by a grant from Youth United’s Uniformed Youth Social Action Fund. That group has been helping young people and their adult volunteers to become more engaged within their community whilst learning new life-changing skills.
At that time, Helen Cawthorne, a Boys’ Brigade volunteer who joined the Stocksbridge Company, told us a bit about her experience saying, “Being part of the Boys' Brigade has really helped me personally with my integration into the area, and through helping on a regular basis I am able to get to know other mums and their children.” She also added that “the 1st Stocksbridge Boys' Brigade is an invaluable part of our local community. It provides a fun, safe, sociable and educational group for boys to be a part of.” A year later, Helen shares an update on her experience:
“I have now completed my leader training, whereas this time last year I was a parent helper. I have more involvement now in planning and producing fun and educational programmes each week, and often come up with a theme that is then used to develop the evening’s activities. We have a new Captain in place now, Phil Hall, who is the church’s Community Youth Worker. We saw the departure of John Myers, Development Worker for The Boys’ Brigade, who originally set up the Company and really got us off to a great start and helped me to develop and grow in confidence with my abilities as a leader.
We now have a team of four adults, and eleven boys attending every week. Our aim for the coming year is to recruit more boys from our local community by actively getting out there in a variety of ways and promoting our Company and educating children and adults on the benefits and role of The Boys’ Brigade.
When we create an evening’s activities we always have the boys in mind, their abilities and what they enjoy so we can tailor programmes that will keep them engaged and at the same time be appropriate for all and help develop them holistically. Our boys really enjoy being active and love team games and using the fantastic equipment we have, which helps us to provide a diverse range of activities that they can really enjoy.
There are so many things I enjoy about being part of this organisation. I particularly enjoy organising the craft part of the programme to coincide with the evening’s activities, and the great relationships I have developed with the children. It is so rewarding being part of creating an evening of fun and friendship where everyone learns and has such fun!”
Currently, Stocksbridge is going through a period of significant uncertainty as more than 2,000 steelworker jobs in South Yorkshire are at threat. During these times, organisations like the Boys’ Brigade are as important as ever, helping to bring people within the local community together and provide activities for children and families going through a time of tension and difficulty. The local Stocksbridge Company hopes to provide something for the area to be proud of and to help promote community togetherness.