Community Focus: The Jim Arkell Youth Club

Millard Terrace Caring Association (M.T.C.A.) is run by a dedicated group of volunteers who work for the residents who live on Millard Terrace Estate (above the Mall, at the Heathway, Dagenham). The M.T.C.A. run meetings where residents can get together, meet their local Ward Councillors and council officers to discuss their housing, the estate and issues important to them

As well as working with the adults on the estate they were also concerned that children and young people living on the estate had nowhere safe to play when they came home from school. Jim Arkell, who was the Vice Chair of the M.T.C.A., wanted to set up a youth club to address these issues. Jim worked with the tenant participation officer for Millard Terrace to secure funding and get a youth club started. Unfortunately, Jim passed away in November 2011 but his vision of starting a club for children and young people living on the estate was carried forward by the Chair and Secretary. The club officially opened in March 2012 and was funded by the Tenant & Residents Association of Barking and Dagenham until July 2012.

Additional funding was then secured from Community First to enable the club to run from September 2012 till July 2013. The club runs every Thursday evening from 5.30pm – 7.30pm with 10 – 16 children and young people attending every week. The funding is used to pay for 2 Sports Coaches, from the LBBD Sport & Physical Activity Team, to organise physical activities for the young people along with 3 volunteers, the Chair, the Secretary and a Committee Member.

Funding has also been secured to buy additional toys, play equipment etc. for the children and young people to use outside as well as inside the club. Volunteers from the M.T.C.A. are organising a toy/equipment loan scheme where young people can have the use of the equipment at times when the club is not open. Those wishing to access the scheme will each be given their own personalised card which they will use to book in and out the equipment they wish to borrow.

Having a youth club on the estate ensures that the children and young people are in a safe environment where they can make new friends, gain confidence, engage in physical activities, feel valued and respected, make a positive contribution and feel included in their community.

Quotes from children and young people:

"It's a lovely place to come"

"I have a good time and it's a wonderful place to meet new friends"

"Without the club I'd have nothing to do"

Parents also appreciate their children and young people having somewhere to go every week where they can have fun and do 2 hours of physical activities at the same time. As the club is on the estate it only takes parents minutes to drop children off and then pick them up again.

If you would like to find out more about any of the activities listed in this article and how you can get involved then please contact Dave Torr on: 07837 630 849