If you couldn’t make the event at our Neighbourhood Centre on Monday 18th April, you missed a great evening. Amongst those who popped by from the locality and from St Mary Islington, there were some people who either lived or worked in Islington but who hadn’t heard of Mary’s and all the activities we offer…so thanks to everyone who tramped the streets of the parish to deliver the invitations. We have to continue to build awareness and understanding of who we are and what we do.
This was our second event, following the launch of our new brand last year – and this time all went smoothly. Balazs, our Chief Executive, did the welcome and presided over the delivery of the £325,000 cheque from Ian, one of our Trustees who has been deeply immersed in the development of grant applications, on behalf of the Big Lottery Fund to our Youth Club co-producers (they’re the young people who we employ on a short term basis to work with staff to develop and deliver new activities and opportunities for Youth Club members).
Rebecca, our Youth Development Manager, outlined the new employability services this funding enables us to offer – including mentoring and work experience – which will give young people in Islington a kick-start in their search for employment…so crucial in a borough where youth unemployment is almost double the average for London as a whole. Then some Youth Club members did a presentation covering a market and competitive analysis they had been conducting, together with PESA – one of Mary’s partners in fitness activities – in order to produce a business plan to raise funds for the development of a professionally-equipped gym in the Neighbourhood Centre, for use not only by the Youth Club, but also by the community groups who use our premises and the local community. Great practical experience for them – and a well-constructed proposition.
Helen, Chair of Mary’s Trustees, rounded off all the talking by explaining why we still needed to raise a further £100,000 over the next three years to meet the terms of the Big Lottery Fund grant. We have more to do but at least the award will give us a bit more time to build up sustainable funding to ensure Mary’s long term future. And then Helen handed over to four more members of the Youth Club who performed a jaw-dropping dance routine, led by Chloe Dean.
An action-packed end to celebrate an action-packed year at Mary’s Youth Club and to launch an even more action-packed 2016/7.
Just wish I could dance like that!
Jan Pester – Mary’s Trustee
Photo by Charles Adeyemi