The kids are alright thanks to £15,000 boost
By Nicky Carter - Reporter
ONLINE science fairs, activity packs delivered to doors and the Cook Your Own Tea project are just some of the activities that have already delivered during the pandemic thanks to funding from TAP.
In normal times, the youth team from Utass (Upper Teesdale Agricultural Support Services) provides a wide range of activities, both at the Chapel Row base and off site.
Bob Danby, project manager at Utass, said: “We used to run three sessions of youth work a week and we’d arrange trips to take the kids away to things they wanted to see such as paint balling, go-karting trips and cinema visits. We’d even arranged trips to the Metro Centre for some shopping.
“It is hard for people up the dale to just nip to do these things and it’s arranging things that normal kids do and don’t give a thought to how to get there.”
When the country went into lockdown in March last year, in-person youth sessions were suspended, however, the four-strong youth working team devised a range of activities to keep youngsters amused and engaged with each other.
After teaming up with Durham University evolutionary anthropologist Prof Sarah Elton, Utass put on a science fair. Kids were shown how to create their own sand timers, lava lamps, kites and miniature robots.
Mr Danby added: “The science fair was a real hit and we have plans when restrictions ease up to organise a “bot wars” event with the bots they created from toothbrushes and watch batteries.”
The Cook Your Own Teas scheme, which sees recipes and ingredients for healthy meals being dropped off every fortnight to 55 kids, has been a success.
A youth WhatsApp group, created to help youngsters keep in touch has also proved to be a hit.
“The kids are sharing things and it is a way to keep in touch and breakdown the social isolation,” he added.
“The team has been creating activity packs as well, delivering them around the dale, but it’s difficult to come up with new ideas that aren’t necessarily screen-based and help keep kids active and engaged.”
A further £15,060 of funding from Teesdale Action Partnership (TAP) has been awarded to Utass to continue the youth programmes.
Mr Danby said: “Adam [White] from TAP has been brilliant with the funding and we are constantly talking about when we can reopen to the kids and get started on things again as it’s important in relationship building to keep the sessions going.”