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Sessions for young people at Auckland Youth and Community Centre

Auckland Youth and Community Centre

Find out how one Bishop Auckland youth centre is tackling holiday hunger and Zoom fatigue.  

Auckland Youth and Community Centre has 56 years of serving the community under its belt.

But when the pandemic arrived, its importance to the community became even more crystal clear.

Shutting the centre was devastating for the team, and the thousands of people who access its services. Yet the team refused to give up – and decided that if young people could not come to the centre, they would take the centre to their families.

With £5,000 from the Foundation’s Covid-19 Sustainability Fund, they offered wrap around support to the Woodhouse Close community through mental health support, crisis intervention and remote services including sessions online.

Community Safety Fund

And a recent grant of £10,000 from the Foundation’s Community Safety Fund will go towards supporting their Detached Youth Work Project.

David McCreedy from the centre said: “People don’t realise how much you can do with a ‘small’ grant and how much it changes lives. We can do so much good work with this money.

“The youth and community centre has been continually delivering services for years, so we were devastated when we had to close, because we’d built up such a good rapport with our children, young people and their families. We switched to doing outreach work and delivering craft packs and that gave us the chance to check in with people. The young people are sick of Zoom. They want interaction and their parents are the same.”

The centre then reopened and began to run its sessions once more – until the second lockdown came. Now it is opening for reduced hours and running activities where possible.

David said: “With the schools still open we can do some focused work with parents. Many parents need additional support for their own mental health and wellbeing that concerns us. Although we are a youth centre, we do a lot of community work and we’ve had more and more people coming in.

Helping the whole family

“It’s really important to work with the whole family and we often work with grandparents, parents and toddlers all from the same family so the support is holistic.”

The centre team have also become deeply concerned by growing food insecurity in their community.

David added: “The Sunday before half term we sat down and decided we had to sort something out. So, we got in touch with the local supermarkets and they were phenomenal. Morrison’s did 30 packed lunches for us, Asda gave us a whole trolley of food and Tesco supplied us with some cookies, so we had enough to give out to all the families.

We have had families breaking their hearts. I keep thinking of one parent who had come with their children and every day she came earlier and earlier in case there was nothing left. We made sure we had a cup of tea and a chat with her because those little things make a big difference.”

To find out more about the centre and its activities, click here.










(2) Zero Hunger (3) Good Health and Wellbeing (4) Quality Education (10) Reduced Inequalities

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