The Escape Youth Club is a new charity based in Burgess Hill. Started in January 2020, the lockdown suspended the great success they were just beginning to have with its primary focus to help and support young people.
BHBPA members Mid Sussex Voluntary Action (MVSA) have been staunch supporters since its inception and continue to champion the club in Burgess Hill. Also another BHBPA member, ABCOM, are helping to connect the club with local contacts and assisting with their IT needs.
Karen Taylor, the chairperson for The Escape Youth Club explains:
“In 2018, a young lad of 15, in my daughter’s year, unfortunately took his own life. For someone to feel like there was no other way, at such a young age, was enough for me to do something about it. A few other parents and I decided – instead of just talking about it, something had to be done to help and support the youth of our community.
It was a lot of hard work, meetings etc. but with the help of my team, we managed to open The Escape Youth Club on 10th January 2020. We wanted our club to be different from any other, not only to provide a safe place to hang out with friends and to take part in activities, but also to help with their mental health and well-being.
I am very proud of what has been achieved in such a short time, including the number of members we have, as well as becoming a registered charity. Our great journey has only just begun, and we look forward to doing great things with the youth of our community, giving them the support they deserve.”
The club is very much needed in Burgess Hill and had acquired over 89 members inside the two and a half months we were open. We feel there is currently nothing for youngsters to do and they need a place to belong to. Since lockdown it is even more evident that we need to help the youngsters.
Our 4 main aims are:
1. Health & Wellbeing – To support young people to maintain good mental health and wellbeing with activities and events. Running Resilience workshops in partnership with Sussex Oakleaf which isn’t just for our members but for any youth that may require it.
2. Education & Work – To provide opportunities for games, group activities, career talks and advice plus chillout space.
3. Community engagement – To provide a safe, accessible place for young people, and at the same time supporting the local community.
4. Building Strong Partnerships – Working with others to develop The Escape Youth Club as a key support hub for young people and the local community.
Here are some Questions and Answers you might find useful:
How can BHBPA members help?
We are looking to build relationships with the local business community, not only to offer advice and guidance on roles that may be available to our Young People, but also to get involved with the Club and offer support on key operational services that are fundamental to our continued growth.
Our current focus is that West Sussex are reviewing all their buildings and the Park Centre is at risk which means we may lose our home. We need you, the local Burgess Hill business community to get behind the club, to help back our plans to base ourselves permanently in Park Centre and show a united front to West Sussex County Council that Park Centre is an important hub that provides key services to our families, our children and our community!
Specifically, how can members help?
This is a plea for the knowledge and experience of our local businesses to fill missing gaps in our skill sets that are needed to run our club. We currently need a Membership Coordinator, Social Media Executive, someone to support us with grant applications and volunteering on a Wednesday or Friday night at the club. The different roles require a different level of commitment and we really do appreciate any support you are able to give.
We are also always looking for funding to support our Young People and their future and as I am sure you can imagine the cost of keeping Park Centre open is not cheap, so another way for you to support our club is by sponsoring one of our main events, of which we hold seven throughout the year, or sponsoring our ‘Believe to Achieve’ resilience training for our Young People.
What does this mean for Burgess Hill?
Burgess Hill needs a community hub, somewhere for our young people to hang out, somewhere that can provide age-appropriate activities, not only to give them something to do in the holidays but enhance their own personal growth and development through our connections with the community. Park Centre was left as a building to be used by the community, let’s make sure we realise the dream of Emily Temple and make sure Park Centre continues to provide an all-important community hub to the residents of Burgess Hill.
We understand times are difficult and we want you to know that we appreciate anything you can do to support us.
If you would like to know more, then please contact Karen – firstname.lastname@example.org