Headlines: August 21st, 2003

A campaign to develop a network of contemporary out of school clubs for 11 to 16 year olds, says it has more than 300 new members who are developing the clubs across the country. The figures mean the 2.5 million pound national Make Space campaign is well on the way to meeting its target for this year.The campaign, supported by the Nestle Trust, and managed by Kids’ Clubs Network, a childcare charity, has been driven by research showing 70% of 11-16 year olds believe young people commit crime because there is not enough for them to do and, at any time, a little under half of parents do not know exactly where their teenage children are after school.

Make Space wants to improve opportunities for teenagers across the country by establishing a network of after-school clubs designed to meet their needs. Membership of the campaign gives clubs access to development support services, including a dedicated help line, quarterly newsletters, seminars, briefing materials and peer group learning.

Member clubs are also eligible to apply for a grant of up to 15,000 pounds from Make Space Development Fund. The use of grants is determined by the campaign’s criteria reached in consultation with young people themselves. These include providing a chill-out space where young people can relax and chat with friends, an activity space for access to sports, arts and events and a quiet zone where they can study, surf the net, or do their homework. The young people themselves have to be involved in all decision making at a Make Space club.

Anne Longfield, the Chief Executive of Kids’ Clubs Network, says research shows that six out of ten teenagers and eight out of ten parents think that there is not enough for young people to do in the areas where they live. The network wants Make Space to build on the best of current provision for young people both inside and outside schools. The campaign has the personal backing of the Prime Minister, Tony Blair and is in line with the Government’s priorities to provide a safe place for young people to go after school and in turn reducing youth crime.