Over a two year period Dorset Youth Association (DYA) in conjunction with Ambition gained funding through The Department for Education. This funding aimed a working with a selection of MyPlace Centres around the country to increase the access of use to world-class sports and arts facilities by young people and learning providers, so that young people were supported to excel. We were also primarily targeting those young people facing disadvantage and living in deprived wards.

“I’ve learnt more in a week here on the film making course than I have on my yearlong A-Level course”

DYA’s local MyPlace centre was the newly built STEPS Club for Young People in Weymouth. Over the two years we ran weekly Arts and Sports sessions at STEPS and also ran outreach to other local Youth Centres to try and increase the young people accessing our local MyPlace centre.

“I feel more comfortable being here than I do anywhere else, it’s a good environment for me to be in”

Sports

DYA ran regular sessions in Weymouth each week, at various Youth Centres. We were able to offer a variety of sports, thanks to our staff which allowed for lots of different young people to come and access the centre. Over the two years we ran Table Tennis, Football, Ultimate Frisbee and Handball sessions to name a few. We were also able to offer a 10 week Parkour programme that enabled young people to try something that they might not have ever had access to before. The one sport that really took off was Table Tennis, and we now have a group of young people that play weekly in the local Weymouth Table Tennis League.

“We’ve been able to learn lots of new sports, and also been able to access accreditation”

Arts

We were able to provide lots of fantastic projects to young people thanks to our very talented staff. Over the two year period we ran film making courses, graffiti workshops, music writing classes and Drama shows. All of these projects have enabled young people to gain artistic experience whilst having fun. They were able to gain technical knowledge and experience in areas of Art they might not have been able to in mainstream lessons at School.

“I love it here, I’ve learnt to play the Ukulele and the guitar and I’ve got lots of friends now”

Impact

157 young people over a two year period accessed the work we did, with 135 young people attending 6 or more sessions. These figures not only allowed us to see that the projects we ran worked but that they were so appealing to young people that they created a sustainable programme that is still running in some format now even though the funding has ended. Throughout the two years we were also able to accredit 118 young people. This was through AQA Unit Awards or Bronze and Silver Arts Awards. This allowed us offer a nationally recognised qualification to young people that might not gain qualifications from another avenue. Our project also developed a cohort of Sport and Art Ambassadors who were able to help run sessions, plan activities and advertise the work that we were doing in local Schools.

This project enabled young people facing disadvantage the opportunities and facilities to develop that might not have been readily available to them if this funding was not present.

“STEPS is just amazing because if I didn’t have it, I don’t think I would be able to go anywhere”