Aldridge Manor Youth Club: Can you help it be reborn?

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Aldridge Manor, home to a great youth club. I do hope nobody is attached to it. Picture by Adrian Rothery and posted on Gegograph under a Creative Commons license.

As a result of the imminent closure of Aldridge Manor Youth Club and sale of the Manor House by Walsall Council, local activist Paul Sharpe has got his thinking cap on, and is appealing for help from anyone who might be able to help him set up an alternative club.

I’m sure lots of us – me included – went to the Manor as kids, and understand the value of Youth Clubs. It’s heartbreaking to see them go.

Paul sent me the following request a couple of days ago:

Hi Bob

As previously discussed the Manor House Youth club will be closing at the end of March after about 60 years. The building will also be closed and will then be sold off at some stage. As will most other council run youth clubs

There is a youth Club at the Aldridge Methodist church on Wednesdays from 7pm to 830pm. I believe that this has been going for a good few years. I would urge young people to go along to this… However I am aware that this may not appeal to some of the kids that go to the Manor.

I think it is really important that our kids and Aldridge in general have somewhere to meet up with others and to make and maintain friends and to do different activities, just as some of us older ones did in our childhoods.

The prospect of an independent local youth club that is run by parents (and by any other interested people/volunteers ) is being explored and I am meeting with some key people from a couple of good local venues this week that may be willing to provide a youth club base at least once a week.

However this is not something I can really do on my own.

Please if anyone is willing to support this possibility in a practical way, or on an organisational level please can you contact me in order for this to become a reality and a valuable resource for our local kids.

Thank You !
Paul Sharpe

You can find Paul on Facebook here, or mail me and I’ll pass your message on: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com.

I wholly support Paul in his aims, and have been very sad to see the Walsall Youth Service dismantled – youth provision is very important indeed, but has been a very, very easy cut to make. Both The Plastic Hippo and Linda Mason have written eloquently and sensibly about this.

Please help Paul if you can.

 

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6 Responses to Aldridge Manor Youth Club: Can you help it be reborn?

  1. Brian Ansell says:

    Of course I dont live in the area any longer but I do wish to voice my opinion on this. Back in the sixties we had an astounding and I mean an astounding youth club in Shelfield. This place was a second home for some and a real home for others. Without this youth club and the leadership from volunteers I know that there would have been many who would have stepped over the line into a different way of life. The leaders who would listen and rather than talk down to us youth became part of our lives and part of our souls; we respected them and they did likewise. There names are Mr’s Saunders from Pelsall, the youth leader along with volunteers, Tony Cooke, Burt and Dorothy Radford (Burt was a Lancaster pilot in WW II), Tony Drew, Arthur Brazier and other volunteers such as Policeman Sabin who taught Judo and weight lifting. There were others that at this moment I cannot recall as it is early morning here in Canada and I need to get out the door. We did charity work with fashion shows, wine and dancing parties, jumble sales, charity walks and we had some of the best dances going with such bands as The Rocking Berries, The Knack, Slade, The Californians and on and on. On weekends there were camping excursions to The Barn in North Wales. This place was a real home from home and there were people we could turn to for assistance or help. Walsall Council is a disgrace, its always been a disgrace since after the war. I’m sure there are a lot of towns in England who count their blessing they never got Walsall council. I’m also sure that if these people would have gotten their hands on such places as the Cotswolds they would have sent in the bulldozers to modernize the towns. It is sacrilege to do what they are doing with Aldridge youth club. At the best they should be investing in it; remember these youth are your future so help them don’t plot to eliminate what they have. Make the youths lives a better one with somewhere to go where they can learn from others and hopefully lead a fuller life. Anyway I have said my peace and I say thank you To Shelfield Youth Club for a most wonderful part in my life.

  2. Peter Leek says:

    Hi,
    Having been a member and regular visitor to the Manor House YC from 68 – 72, it would be nice if it could be saved but i’m afraid the days of a thriving youth club have long gone. kids of today either stay in playing computer games or go down the park drinking, yet when i was younger it was all youth clubs. I even done disco’s at the youth clubs at Brownhills, Aldridge, Shelfield and Rushall and Brownhills and the Manor House were always full. I have had some real good time at the Manor and made a lot of good friends some of whom i still see.
    Good luck for the future and hope it survives.
    Pete Leek

    • To be fair, the Manor Youth Club is very busy, and I think you’re doing the kids and those who support it somewhat of a disservice.

      Bob

      • Peter Leek says:

        Hi Bob
        Don’t know if your last comment was aimed at me but i’m only going on my own experiences having 4 children of my own. Whenever i talked about them joining youth clubs i was laughed at as this aint what kids their ages done anymore. I’ve grown up with youth clubs and have always supported them, but i don’t knock either the kids or the clubs but having had 4 kids grow up and sometimes we could have 15 – 20 kids sat in our garden on summer nights i think i know what i’m talking about. My eldest is 31 and youngest is 20 and none of them or their friends have ever gone to youth clubs which in my opinion is a shame..
        Pete Leek

        • My point is, as users and helpers know, The Manir is very busy and still well used. To say otherwise is incorrect.

          The services are not closing due to lack of use, but funding cuts.

          To give any other impression would be wrong.

          Bob

  3. Paul says:

    Hi Bob. Thank you for the posting this article. You are a pillar of our community. A number of people have come forward to offer support in running an independent youth club as a result.

    I have worked in different capacities with children and young people over the last twenty five years and this has included working at and running youth clubs in the past and my own son has attended the Manor for a good few years.

    I am sure there are lots of us that also attended the Manor House ourselves when we were younger. It is a fantastic building with brilliant resources. The Manor is quite busy and most kids that have gone there have kept coming back and love it there.. It is a shame that it is closing along with most other council run clubs. I don’t blame the council on this as in reality it is down to the savage year on cuts being imposed on all councils.

    In terms of your comment Peter. I appreciate that you have four well adjusted kids who are now adults and it sounds as if you had your own mini youth club in your garden over the years as you had 20 plus kids at your house.

    I think if your own kids had managed to come to the Manor they would have had some good and positive experiences as well and would have kept coming. I do appreciate that more could have been done locally over the years to promote what we have in local youth work by the council. Not all kids are lucky enough to form good friendships at school that leads to them making good lifelong and meaningful friends. Not all kids are lucky to have parents that are able to spend regular positive time with them. Its not healthy for kids to be staying at home playing with gadgets all the time.

    I strongly feel that youth centres (and other similar organisations) support kids to develop socially, (to make new friends) and to develop confidence and to try new things and to become more community minded. I speak from experience that it keeps some other kids of the streets (who are at risk of getting into anti social behaviour) and that other kids (and youth workers / volunteers) are often role models who steer some other kids in the right direction. I feel it is important that kids have positive experiences as part of their childhood as life is tough out there as adults

    Hopefully we will be able to start a youth work venue in Aldridge in the near future to provide somewhere for young people of all ages to spend positive time. If anyone else (including Peter) wishes to support in this please contact me Thanks Paul !

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