Community: Well done to Karen... for never giving up!

Karen Holmes at the launch of Tickhill Youth Hub.
Karen Holmes at the launch of Tickhill Youth Hub.

One woman’s vision overcame naysayers who doubted launch of new youth club would ever be possible.

When Karen Holmes was told she had no chance of setting up a youth club in her home town, she knew exactly what she would do.

Coun Nigel Cannings at the launch of Tickhill Youth Hub.

Coun Nigel Cannings at the launch of Tickhill Youth Hub.

She immediately threw herself into the task of making it happen.

And now, just a few short months later, she has achieved what she had been told was impossible.

July 27 saw the first taster session of the new youth hub, as it is being called, at the Tickhill Institute, at Northgate, in Tickhill.

Karen, who was a primary school teacher near Mansfield, said: “I discussed opening a youth club in Tickhill with someone, and they were clear on it, they said it couldn’t be done.

(l-r) Youth Workers Deb Cameron, Kaan Linacre and Shaz Biggin at the launch of Tickhill Youth Hub.

(l-r) Youth Workers Deb Cameron, Kaan Linacre and Shaz Biggin at the launch of Tickhill Youth Hub.

“For me that was a red rag to a bull – I was going to find a way to do it and it make me determined to do it.

“That was in February or March – and now here we are running taster sessions already.”

Karen, who lives in Tickhill, was not used to running projects in her home town.

She had been keen for some time to help youngsters and particularly wanted to get involved with helping deal with disaffection among youngsters in former pit villages.

Inaya Stubbs plays table footballl at the launch of Tickhill Youth Hub.

Inaya Stubbs plays table footballl at the launch of Tickhill Youth Hub.

Karen is currently studying for a PhD qualification in the issue, looking particularly at how it is has impacted in Harworth and Thurcroft and has visited both towns to talk to youngsters.

She thought Tickhill was very different as it is seen as an affluent area – but she thought it was still a town with little for youngsters to do.

And she says although there are well-off parts of Tickhill, not everyone in the town is wealthy.

That was one of the things that made her decide to set something up.

Keira Jones plays pool at the launch of Tickhill Youth Hub.

Keira Jones plays pool at the launch of Tickhill Youth Hub.

She said: “My thing for the youth club was that I think kids will go somewhere where it is light, secure and warm. They don’t want their parents there. They want youth and things to do.

“Everyone thinks that this is an affluent village and everyone has everything, but they don’t have everything.

“Also the kids have pressure to achieve from the grown-ups. That is non-stop. This is about having an escape from that. It is their space, run by professionals who know what they’re doing.

“I think in some ways it is easier to set something like this up in a former mining village than in Tickhill.

“I think there is a lot of cohesion in the former put villages. People are too busy here.”

The new youth hub is being run as a social enterprise, the Tickhill Community Hub, based at Tickhill Institute.

There are plans to run other groups from the village too, to cater for different age groups, such as the elderly.

In the meantime, the youth hub has been set up with activities for youngsters.

The launch party has now been held and other dates for the club this month are August 7 and August 21, both from 6pm until 8pm.

The hub’s leaflets, which have been handed out around the town, describe many attractions including a pool table, football table, video games console, tuck shop, music and snooker.

There are two qualified youth workers who are running sessions.

And the plan is for there to be the chance for those who attend to learn new skills.

There are proposals to have a snooker coach coming to sessions to help people improve their skills.

There are also plans to use one of the allotments, behind the building, for the youngsters to find out about growing food.

In addition, there is support from the youth organisation EPIC Doncaster, which is looking to run fencing and archery sessions.

An urban artist is also in the pipeline.

“There are a whole load of activities to get the children coming down here,” said Karen. “We want to be offering things on a weekly basis.”

In terms of funding the work, there are already a number of grants in place, from organisations including the Rotary Club of St George, and Doncaster Council. There is also support from Tickhill Town Council.

Karen says it needs to be sustainable and is currently looking to win a grant from the National Lottery as well.

Get ready for an action-packed summer

Plans have been drawn up for a number of activities across Tickhill this year.

Tickhill Town Council Summer Sports Activities 2017 is being run throughout the school holidays, with support from Tesco and Doncaster Council.

They are also free to attend.

They will be run from 10am until noon at the Pavilion on Tithes Lane. Under-eights have to be accompanies by an adult and organisers are asking those taking part to wear suitable clothing and sun cream.

Healthy breakfasts will also be offered as part of the scheme, from 9am to 10am, at Tickhill Institute.