Sunday, 19 May 2024
Sunday, 19 May 2024

York-based charity opens huge 8.9-acre Children Centre to help families in need

THE latest statistics show that 1 in 9 children in York live in poverty. The cost of living crisis is felt across the nation, and York is no exception – 11.5% of families have claimed child benefit and at least one other household benefit.

In small cities, the local initiatives play a much bigger role in helping the community reduce poverty and inequality than the national interventions do. One charity that does this particularly well is The Island. Founded in 2007, The Island supports York’s most vulnerable children and young people through mentoring, this way building their confidence, resilience, and self-esteem. Their vision is ‘No York child or young person will face the world alone.’

They’ve helped over 3,000 children from the York area so far but there are still thousands that need their support. Their current programmes include education and well-being assistance, tutoring, life skills, counselling, foodbank, group and 1-2-1 mentoring. The Island currently has 32 volunteer mentors manage 40 young people attending the sessions regularly. They are working on the one-to-one mentoring relationships and 6 of the mentors lead the group sessions.

Nigel Poulton, CEO of The Island said: 

“We’re very proud of what we managed to achieve in our charity – through the power of mentoring, vulnerable children and young people discover the strength within themselves to unlock their potential for brighter futures.”

Like many charities, The Island faced the challenge of securing funding. As many struggle with the Cost of Living Crisis, charities also face a Cost of Giving Crisis. A donation as small as £10 covers the cost of a mentoring session, which can make a real impact on a young person’s life.

David Adams, co-founder of local York company BusinessWaste.co.uk and sponsor of The Island added:

“The Island has such a wonderful cause and we want to see them succeed. They make an incredible difference to the youth in the community and we’re excited to see all their upcoming projects come to life.”

One of their most exciting projects yet is the proposed building of a new Children’s Centre. The charity will finally find a permanent home from where the team will be able to help the community even more. This will be a major investment in the young people of York. The centre will include:

  • Other local charities – more community groups will be able to access the facilities. They will offer support for a variety of neurological profiles, ensuring equitable access for every child.
  • Corporate sponsors – local companies can run talks and training days for young people, and even offer opportunities for work experience and future employment.
  • Dance and recording studios – these will ensure the youth’s creativity is fostered in every way possible.
  • Beautiful landscaping – an inspirational open outdoor area of 8 acres, designed for playing and relaxation.

Nigel concluded:

“The new children’s centre is more than just a building; it’s a beacon of hope for all vulnerable children and a hub for other local charities and community groups.”

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