“It has been a real lifeline for her”: Parents reflect on Youth Spaces

05 April 2023
Background picture of a sunny sky over a Wirral park, in the foreground is a blue sign with white lettering reading 'Youth Spaces launch event'
Youth Spaces have been holding a wide array of youth events and activities for over a year now. How have they impacted Wirral's young people?

It’s been nearly a year since Wirral’s Youth Spaces were launched and with more than 7200 young people attending a session since April 2022, the service continues to go from strength to strength.

Neighbourhood Youth workers provide a safe space for young people aged 11 to 19 years (and up to 25 for young people with disabilities) three times a week, between 6-10pm.

Here they can talk to a Youth Worker for support and advice, participate in activities that promote learning, and generally develop their social and practical life skills, including confidence and self-esteem, while having fun and interacting with other youngsters.

With more than 500 sessions delivered so far, we asked parents how Youth Spaces had impacted their children’s lives. (Names and identifying details have been removed).

One parent said of her daughter’s experience of the service:

I just wanted to say that it has been a real lifeline for her. She suffers with anxiety and other mental health difficulties, finds it difficult to leave the house, travel in the car and meet people and after a long period of online youth group she felt ready to meet the youth worker in person. 

She attended two water sports sessions in West Kirby and it was quite an emotional experience for us to see her on the boat and swimming in the marina with her wet suit on and a big smile on her face. She has been suffering so much lately and youth club has been a great support to her throughout this time.

I think she has found her happy place and is keen to go back. Also. what a lovely bunch of children they are; so kind, supportive and encouraging of each other.

My daughter wanted to challenge herself and she did and she was really proud of herself afterwards and so are we. Thanks again.

We heard from another parent whose son has enjoyed trying out some new challenges:

I know my child thoroughly enjoyed both the water sports and reptiles, as he gave me quite a bit of feedback for both, which is a good sign as he is usually a child of few words and quite indifferent to everything!

He also enjoyed the chance to try wind surfing and said he enjoyed the challenge of it.

Another parent said her daughter had become “more independent”, while others described how their young people had grown in confidence. Another parent echoed this praise, describing how their child felt about the Youth Spaces:

They really enjoyed it and these sessions enabled them to make new friends and socialise in a safe environment. We are so grateful.

Along with giving kids access to water sports, Youth Spaces also offer young people the chance to take part in:

  • Arts and crafts or performing arts sessions
  • Chilling out with friends, old and new
  • Playing sports including football, netball and table tennis
  • Day trips, big nights and gigs
  • Life skills sessions
  • 1:1 Intensive Youth Support/mentoring
  • Year 6 transition programmes/ 1-1 support within primary schools
  • Holiday activity Programmes offering a wide range of activities
  • Mental health and fitness programmes

Youth Spaces are delivered across Wirral in seven neighbourhoods of Wallasey, South Wirral, West Wirral, with the two Birkenhead areas commissioned and delivered by the Hive. Young people aged 11-19 can access Youth Spaces completely free.

For more information, or to access a Youth Space near you, click here.