Staffordshire Commissioner Confirms Space Programme for this Summer

Space, the programme of fun and educational activities provided for young people across the county and city, will return this summer, after its continued success even during the pandemic.

Last summer, against all odds and numerous challenges as a result of Covid-19, Space went ahead to help young people during August with more than 500 activities at around 50 locations. It was extended to provide further relief for young people and their families during the October half term.

Thousands of young people between the ages of 8 and 17 got to enjoy days out, football, outdoor sports and activities and creative classes, all conducted in a Covid-safe way.

Staffordshire Commissioner for Police, Fire and Rescue and Crime, Matthew Ellis was determined to see Space go ahead last summer, when it was needed more than ever, even though it could not take place in the same way because of the pandemic.

He has announced Space will go ahead this summer with hopefully a return to a more normal programme over the summer holidays. Mr Ellis has set aside funding of £180,000.

The Commissioner said:

“It was amazing what everyone involved managed to achieve last summer and over the autumn half term to help young people and families have something to enjoy and look forward to with Space, during what was one of the most difficult periods any of us have had to live through.”

“I’m proud of everyone who took part and grateful to all the individuals and organisations who made it happen against all odds. I’m hoping this year’s event can go ahead in a more normal way and build on the successes of previous years since I relaunched Space in 2015.”

“As we can see again this year from feedback, Space not only gives young people fun, active things to do with their friends during the summer, it also helps their physical and mental wellbeing and has the potential to have long-lasting effects on their whole lives.”

“We’ve heard from teachers who report changes of attitude and school attendance through the confidence and boost to self-esteem young people can experience from attending Space. It really does have far-reaching effects beyond just attending the events themselves over the summer holidays.”

“I won’t be here to see this year’s event, but I have allocated funding to make sure Space can take place and build on the remarkable results for young people that we’ve witnessed over the last six years.”

“I really hope the new Commissioner will continue with the Space programme, which has seen thousands of young people gain confidence, develop skills and improve their health and wellbeing.”

Mr Ellis relaunched Space in 2015 to bring together public, voluntary and private sector organisations to help nurture, support and guide Staffordshire’s young people, with an additional aim of reducing levels of anti-social behaviour (ASB). It has since gone from strength to strength, with a more than 50% reduction in ASB during the summer period since 2016.

Last year’s event is not comparable because it had to operate in a restricted way because of the pandemic, but the aim is to continue building on previous successes this year.

These were just some examples of the impact Space had last year:

Story A – “The siblings are currently on a Child Protection plan and ‘A’ is a Young Carer for her dad, who she lives with.”

 “He has mental health issues, which impact on the girl’s mental health, wellbeing and ability to access activities. They have a chaotic home life and do not have access to a garden and never leave the house for exercise/activities due to this and not having the funds.”

 “Space was an opportunity for the girls to meet up with other children and engage in new activities, which they have not been able to access previously to try and improve their mental wellbeing and self-esteem in a safe and fun environment.”

Story B – “B is one of 8 siblings. His older 3 brothers have all been involved in anti-social behaviour in the community and B is also at risk.”

 “He is currently working with the Youth Offending Prevention Team and the family are on a Child Protection plan. In school he is focused and on track, but struggles when boundaries are not in place and can be ‘easily led’ to impress his peers.”

 “He enjoys outside and sports-based activities and Space has provided a way to engage him in a safe, positive structured way and to support him and get him ready for his transition to high school.”

 Story C – “C lives with his parents, older sister and younger brother in a caring family environment. His younger brother has specific learning needs and attends a special school provider and C is registered as a Young Carer for him. C loves sports of any kind; Space was an opportunity for him to access activities and to have time away from his caring role and have something ‘for him’ to engage in with his peers.”  

Story D – “The participant has lived in over 5 different care homes in the last 12 months and has been a missing person. She has attended several high schools and would often go missing during the school day.

 “She was initially really anxious about starting the Space summer school, but has built a fantastic relationship with the leader who has helped her to realise that she loves football.”

 “She has now changed her GCSE options and is studying PE. She has 100% attendance and is engaging in all lessons. I wish that you could see her face because she is absolutely beaming! She is happy, safe and is making academic progress. She is a huge summer success story.”

 Story E – “The participant was anxious about the transition from primary to secondary school. She was reluctant to attend on the first day, but as the week went on she grew in confidence.”

 “She has said that the Space summer school made her feel much more confident about starting school. She is engaging in the work and says that it helped that she had already met some of the teachers and made friends prior to September.’

 And here’s some key facts and stats:

  • 514 Space 2020 activities
  • 19 activity organisers
  • 4,715 attendances, equalling 14,225 hours of engagement
  • Food was provided for youngsters attending Port Vale-run activities based at St Margaret Ward Academy where there were 750 attendances and also donated by the Hubb Foundation
  • Food was also made available to young people attending the Achieving Goals and Dreams activities in Cannock, Hednesford and Pye Green Parks, with funding provided by Tesco.
Tony Walley
Tony Walley
News & Sport Editor

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