A safe haven for young people

Supporting Bolton Lads & Girls Club

31 March 2022Back to news

Art projects at Bolton Lads & Girls ClubBolton Lads & Girls Club is a youth club (BLGC) and registered charity based in Bolton, Greater Manchester. Established over 128 years ago, BLGC were one of the first organisations in the North West to recognise the important of providing young people with a safe haven to spend their free time.

The foundations of the charity are based on their universal open access offer, 7 days and nights a week, 51 weeks a year, reaching over 3,000 individual children and young people from across all areas of the town. BLGC offer through centre-based play and youth work, to empower inspire and build confidence and resilience including:

  • sport provision
  • arts and music programmes
  • drama
  • multi-media
  • outreach and detached street based programmes
  • SEND programmes
  • Supporting Bolton’s most vulnerable and complex children, young people and families.

BLGC have developed a number of robust evidence-based services which provide tailored packages of support to some of Bolton’s most vulnerable and complex children, young people and families. They provide 1-1 support from Early Help to child protect, the Young Carers service, programmes for Looked after children and programmes that tackle employability homelessness, independent living for those 16plus through psycho and social support.

In addition, BLGC offers a range of mental health service including bereavement support, Safe Zones, THRIVE practitioners and work in schools provision 1:1 and group therapeutic support.

The demand for the services since the Covid Pandemic has substantially increased.  The COVID pandemic has had and continuing to have a detrimental effect on the mental health of local young people and those who were struggling before the crisis are no longer coping. The charity has seen increased instances of high anxiety, low mood, isolation and self-harm and a number of interventions o support young people.  Peel L&P’s support has meant that a dedicated mental health youth worker (practitioner) is in place.

Over the last 18 months of the partnership with BLGC, they have:

  • Provided Mental Health Support for 692 individual young people.
  • Built capacity to manage the surge and increased demands to their EHWB/Mental Health support services.
  • Continued to support young people suffering from a variety of different needs, from anxiety and low mood to those with more complex needs, such as suicidal thoughts.
  • Provided a varied mix of online and face to face support, centre based and through community venues such as schools, to expand reach and a place for people to feel safe.
  • Provided advanced training for their workforces, especially trauma focussed training and ACES awareness with an aspiration to implement and embed a trauma informed organisation wide approach over the next 3 years.
  • Developed a range of early intervention and prevention programmes to support young people’s Mental Wellbeing by creating self-management techniques and coping strategies, by allowing them space to talk and be creative, for example using art.  This enables young people an opportunity to channel their emotions in a positive coping technique. 
  • Conducted more focused work with schools and the additional pressure academic studies and exams can create.  BLGC are partnering with school to find different way that work for those with increase anxiety and coping mechanisms.

During the summer of 2022, BLGC will open a new town centre facility as a base for their work.  Predictions suggest a further 3,000 new members of which 50% will require additional support with their mental health.  

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