The Hub in Newport has been looking forward to launching its new youth club in collaboration with the Shropshire Youth Association for more than a year – but the pandemic had other ideas.
Gatherings were banned for public safety and citizens young and old were told to stay at home and apart. Now, with the coronavirus road map progressing, the Newport Youth Club has tentatively held its first weekly sessions to a great reception.
Debbie Bundy, who manages The Hub, explained: "We have been really excited to welcome the children as the youth club has been in the pipeline at the Hub for over a year, but due to Covid we had to keep moving the start date back – so we are all really pleased to finally have been able have the go ahead and start.
"The Covid rules, I think, come naturally now to most of us. We are limited to how many children we can have in each session and the registration with parents has been done outside the last two week, so it is just the volunteers and children entering the hall.
"We make sure the children wear masks and sanitise their hands regularly and we are using disposable cups and plates as well as cleaning everything down between sessions, so it is a little more work but worth it to keep everyone as safe as possible."
Sessions started up in April and have proved popular as an outlet for the young people.
As they have in so many other areas of life, the young people who have been attending the club have adapted brilliantly.
"The children are very good at following the guidelines – having to do things slightly differently at school as well has probably helped and they are all very well-behaved and have adapted quickly to the rules.
"We have a table tennis table which is out every week and we have already done activities like archery, bingo, badge making, sand jewellery and tile designing.
"The youth club is for the children so we want to know what they would like to do in their sessions and are very open to ideas from them."
The sessions, every Monday night (5pm to 6.30pm for 10-13-year-olds and 7pm to 8.30pm for 14-17-year-olds) are driven by what the children themselves want to do, giving them some agency after a year in which they have had very little.
The junior sessions are almost fully-subscribed but there are still plenty of spaces in the senior sessions.
For more information, contact the Shropshire Youth Association on 01743 730005 or email@example.com.