Recognising Derbyshire ASB Heroes: Helen Thornhill
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Helen was nominated as an anti-social behaviour (ASB) Hero by PCSO Brian Buller, for her work in setting up and running essential youth clubs for local people in the Glossopdale area.
Helen was nominated as an anti-social behaviour (ASB) Hero by PCSO Brian Buller for her work in setting up and running essential youth clubs for local people in the Glossopdale area.
Tasked with the job of looking at what might be stopping young people from moving more and making physical activity part of their daily lives, Move More Glossop Project Lead Helen soon realised there was a bigger picture for the communities she was working with.
As the country came out of strict lockdown restrictions, Helen got together with other volunteers to put on local football sessions: “There had been no youth provision in Gamesley for a few years, I used it as an opportunity to talk to them about what would help them, and their families move more in their own place.
“They were all adamant that we needed youth clubs and that's what just kept coming back all the time. They can go and join a sports club, but then there's nowhere for them to go and just hang out and not feel that they're going to get shouted at or moved on.”
Helen worked with the volunteers who were helping with the football sessions and got more people on board to start a youth club.
“The first week we opened, the queue was down the street! We had to narrow the age group because we ended up with 120 children at one point, so it was a bit bonkers to start with.”
“We’ve now been running for 18 months, and we still steadily have around 100 young people a week.”
The provision has since been replicated at Whitfield and a further youth club started at Hadfield, but is currently on pause after the venue had a flood.
These clubs offer young people a space to come together, learn new skills, and spend time in a safe space.
Helen added: “There's a lot of the learning around anti-social behaviour in that you need to give the kids a bit of value and make them feel that they own that space.
“I think if you make young people feel valued, that they’re not unseen, and listen to them, it gives them somewhere to belong which makes a difference.”
“We have had times where schools have said that they’ve seen marked changes in behaviour and it’s since they've come to the youth club. We've developed it so they can have a go at martial arts and join a group, so they’re learning discipline and they’re not on the streets anymore.”
“Just helping those one or two people, it's just been it's been it's worth it just for that.”