26th June 2015
Stocksbridge is located a few miles north of Sheffield. Once purpose built as an industrial town to support the thriving steel industry in the in early 20th Century it faced a period of hardship after the closures of the steel mills in the eighties.
An industry that had once supplied generations with work ground to a halt causing mass unemployment. However, in recent years, Stocksbridge, and its locals, are enjoying increasing regeneration in the area and new opportunities.
One such opportunity is a new Boys’ Brigade group in Stocksbridge, aided by the Uniformed Youth Social Action Fund from the Youth United Foundation and the Cabinet Office. The new group has been helping young people and their adult volunteers to become more engaged within their community whilst learning new life-changing skills.
The Boys’ Brigade works closely with the young people to provide new and exciting opportunities and it has also offered a platform for volunteers who wish to improve their CV and give back to the community.
John Myers, a Boys' Brigade Development Worker, said: “Our adult leaders are fantastic, being involved in a youth group can give so much back. One parent, who attended with her son helped to make refreshments for the group and now she is taking full leadership training.”
John says: “Youth United’s involvement and funding has made a big difference to our group in Stocksbridge. Despite the church recognising the need for provision in the area they have been unable to offer the financial assistance they wish they could. That’s why Youth United’s funding has been essential, as it has provided a development worker that has been key in establishing a group. The knowledge and skills are equally as valuable as having the financial resources.”
It’s opportunities like these that are at the heart of the Youth United network and show the multiple benefits an individual can obtain through becoming involved in social action and youth groups. Helen Cawthorne is a parent of a Boys’ Brigade member and speaks how volunteering at the Stocksbridge group has helped her build a strong relationship with the community and increased youth provision in a previously under-represented area.
Being a Volunteer: A Boy’s Brigade Case Study
Since my son was 2 years old I have been very keen for him to join The Boys' Brigade.
We moved to Stocksbridge in February. I then found out from a member of the Christian Centre that there was a Brigade starting up, and that parents were asked to help. I put my son's name down, and myself forward to help in whatever way I could. I felt that I should give my spare time, where I could, to help this great organisation, and especially a newly formed, and much needed in the area. We went along to the Easter holiday club they were running. My son was very excited to be able to get the opportunity to be part of it. He absolutely loved it!
When the sessions started up I went along and stayed to help, and have done so ever since. I really enjoy working with the boys and helping in the different activities they do each week. The boys really enjoy the creative and active parts of the evening, and have great enthusiasm for it all! The leaders, John and Allistair, are brilliant with the boys. They are very motivated and have great attitudes in all situations. This encourages the boys to have the same in all they do.
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. My son is also happy to have made friends outside of his classmates. Some are at his school and some he may see out and about.
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. I look forward to being able to be a part of this Brigade as it continues to grow and develop within the local community.
Helen Cawthorne (Boys’ Brigade volunteer)