2000: First Seedcorn funding from East Brighton NDC (later to become eb4U)
- Whitehawk Estate, Brighton: Following the fatal stabbing of a young person on the estate and well publicised difficulties with a large peer group of young people a group of parents including Lorraine Snow and Darren Snow decided something must be done to avoid problems for the young people and the wider community.
- The parents, who had been doing whatever they could for young people from their own houses approached Brighton and Hove City Council requesting to use a set of ‘portakabins’ previously used as sports changing rooms on the estate under the hill directly beneath Brighton Racecourse, conveniently distant from housing nearby and next to disused football pitches.
- Council officials said yes and a trial period of 3 months began. Parent volunteers opened up a brand new youth club, as many nights per week as they could, starting with just one dartboard.
- Brighton and Hove Albion footballers were amongst the guests at the party celebrating the launch of the new CREW CLUB – the name chosen by the young people themselves for their new base.
2001 : Staff Team Recruited, Community Safety Work expands
- Within a year more than 200 young people had benefited from the informal work at the club, run on a voluntary basis by this group of local parents. The club was meeting regularly several evenings per week and began to put on special events and activities in school holidays.
- The East Brighton New Deal for Communities programme had been launched and the Crew Club applied for its first ever funding support from the NDC Community Chest and was delighted to be awarded £2,000 to help develop its activities.
- This first vital NDC funding helped to transform the Crew Club’s base from a sports changing room into something resembling a young people’s club. Young people took a weekend to paint and decorate and photos from the ever-lengthening activity list began to appear on the walls.
- Young people at the club took part in the Whitehawk Festival, ensuring that the local residents and other community groups and the club took a group of 45 young people on a trip to Alton Towers
- A formally constituted organisation was created to manage and oversee this work and a steering group was formed including representatives from the Youth Service, Careers Service, a local councillor, young people and local residents.
2002: Rapid expansion of work ,Plans begin for a new Centre
- NDC funding enables the Club to recruit its first full time paid workers who include several of the local residents who set up the work voluntarily and an administrator who was previously a local young member of the club.
- Lorraine Snow, one of the club workers, is nominated locally and receives a Community Champions award from BBC TV, and with a young person attends celebration event at the BBC and the club receives welcome publicity. Lorraine is getting involved in local work with the East Brighton Community Safety team, makes visits to other clubs and to Islington to look at community safety work and how local projects can support work with young people around ASBO’s and ABC’s. Partnership work with the Youth Offending team begins.
- Club becomes a company limited by guarantee not for profit with a Board of Directors including young people and seeks charity registration.
- The first of what are now annual community events at Christmas when young club members in fancy dress serve Christmas tea, organise a meal and gifts for 60-70 older local residents.
2003: Capacity builds, young people trainee scheme, Community Safety Success
- Club membership continues to rise. In 2002 there are 399 registered members, there is 2,600 hours of youth work provision, 166-week night club sessions with an average attendance of 56 young people per evening, and 80 additional activity sessions. As a result of initial success of the work and its rapid expansion, which highlights the many needs of young people, a further application to eb4U is made and further funding awarded.
- The issues tackled broaden, specialist work starts linking with the Youth Inclusion Project as well as Youth Offending Team, the City Youth Service and other youth work providers. Support work with young people facing particular challenges involving their families, school attendance, behaviour, employment, training and many health issues begins, with partnerships established with projects and agencies across these theme areas in East Brighton and across the City.
- Club broadens its network of contacts, experience and partners including the Brighton and Hove Common Purpose network (Sky TV executives complete a challenge at the club to make a young people’s video)
- The existing facility is fast becoming much too small for youth work and administration to support it. Major planning for the future of the club begins, realising the need for different premises, more space, specialised facilities for different types of work with young people.
- A major public stakeholder meeting held, fronted by young people, to set out the club’s 3-year future vision to consult with and involve key people in making the future plan happen. The Crew Club becomes a Registered Charity and wins further NDC (eb4U) investment for its future 3-year plan.
2004: Quality of work confirmed ( Ofsted) , Partnerships Develop , New Building needed more than ever …
- The Club’s 3 year plan (2003-June 2006) includes a new full time worker – (another skilled local resident is appointed in an open process), starting a young people trainee scheme to help take young people on a transition from club members to part-time workers, expanded project work in Community Safety and diversionary activity work including sports and outdoor activity development, an accredited Youth Award scheme, special Education projects linking with local schools to help young people improve attendance, behaviour and achievement , Health and inter-generational work.
- The pressures on the club’s temporary premises are huge. Short term improvements are made to the portakabins, but a process for planning a new building begins with consultation meetings with young people and the local community run by a firm of architects who then draw up costed designs and begin the lengthy process of making application to eb4U for funding. NDC (eb4U) respond positively by appointing a team of capital project managers from a Housing Association to assist the Crew Club to develop plans for a new building. Outline planning permission for a new building is applied for from Brighton and Hove City Council and is granted.
- The highlight of the club’s Summer Activity programme is a Community Safety event and campaign, hosted by the Crew Club, involving the local police, East Brighton Community Safety Forum, Trading Standards, community groups, which was successful in highlighting the dangers of weapons and resulted in a BB-Gun Amnesty – the handing in of many BB-Guns and other offensive weapons at a Fun Day. National, regional, local and community publicity was achieved through this event which was successful in aiding the partnership working and mutual understanding of many community safety agencies and groups.
- Young people’s absence from school is known to be a key factor in community safety work and the Crew Club develops partnership work with the local secondary school, COMART. This work is piloted and repeated from September 2003 in very strong partnership involving the Youth Service, Connexions, Health For All Team, the LEA, schools, and external partners such as major employers and companies in the City. The Crew Club led work targets year 11’s at risk of exclusion and of leaving school with no experience and no idea of what they will do and to provide them with information to help them move on successfully. This work is accredited and certificates are awarded. External partners note the good behaviour of the group members.
- Core activities such as summer holiday programme, Alton Towers trips, sports, all continue and develop. The behaviour of young people participating is noted as good by external observers who comment on the strong ethos and evident sense of ownership, pride and support for one another shown by young members of the club.
- Delegations from the club led by young people make visits to France in a cultural exchange programme (for some their first time abroad) and to the first national NDC youth conference in Middlesbrough where some young people presented the work of the club.
- In 2003, 481 different young people accessed 146 club night sessions (club closed for a period for essential refurbishment) – an average of 73 young people during a 3 and a half hour typical open club night session. An additional 179 activity sessions, (from go Karting, Camping, Mountain Biking and Ice Skating, to Film –Making, themed anti-bullying, sexual health and diversity projects, dance, drama and DJing sessions) were put on with average attendance of 13 young people at every session.
- The scope and scale of the work are maintained with increased capacity from a fourth full-time worker, the young people’s trainee scheme, structured use of volunteers and increased capacity through partnership working. In addition quality is reviewed and strengthened in all activities and systems including crucial information gathering and data management for monitoring and evaluation purposes. The Crew Club achieves a very positive assessment in it’s first Local Authority Pre-OFSTED inspection in November 2004: “ An all inclusive Club…Young people clearly value the provision which meets many needs on a deprived estate…Good atmosphere lots of activity and productivity with everyone involved with something…Strong links between staff, local school, parents and police…Considerable evidence of achievement, progression and development … young people respected the premises (no graffiti) ”
- Innovative community warden ‘buddies’ scheme is started, where the young members of the club work with Neighbourhood wardens in projects to tidy up the local environment encouraging better working relationships with Community Safety officials.
- Ricky Pumphrey the club’s Administrator, formerly a young member of the Crew Club, was nominated by East Brighton 4 U for a national award at the National NDC conference and received a Runners-Up Award in the category for significant achievements in regeneration – and received congratulations from Regeneration Minister, Jeff Rooker.
- All aspects of the club’s work develop and are celebrated at a Major Showcase presented and compered by young members of the club, attended by 240 young people, parents, youth workers, community representatives, partners, and officials from across the City held at the Brighton Centre in November 2004. Young people received different accredited awards, the Brighton & Hove Youth Achievement Awards being one and with 64 young people achieving at Bronze level, 4 at Silver and 1 at Gold the scheme has been a success.
- 3 young people achieved the Duke of Edinburgh Award and 22 young people achieved a golf induction-training programme. Certificates for the GOTHIA World Cup soccer Sweden participants, they had also made own film of the project shown on day Groups performed: Break-dancing, singing (group of girls had written their own song, produced CD available on day), DJ-ing, live music from ex-members plus a solo dance performance from a 14-year-old member.