Daniel Oliver tells us about his experience as a Yapper, under The Rank Foundations Youth Apprenticeship Programme (YAP). During the programme, he spent numerous years working with children at Frenford Clubs and worked towards a degree at the YMCA George Williams College.
”Frenford Clubs was established in 1928 and has grown from strength to strength, currently with over 80 volunteers. Frenford Clubs aims to facilitate learning and development of young people through purposeful leisure time activities. A key focus of the organisation is the development of volunteers, as this is the cornerstone of Frenford Clubs history and existence.
Each year, Frenford Clubs runs an annual residential trip to Woodrow High House (see photo). During the trip, I was responsible for 20 young people, who took part in team building activities such as raft building, assault courses and drama. In addition, the young people took part in an inspirational public speaking workshop with Hussain Manawar, who won a competition to do a speech in Thailand and regularly does workshops in local schools. This really helped the young people, as they all got something out of the workshop, whether it was confidence or inspiration. At the end of the residential the feedback from the young people was very positive, with all rating the week as enjoyable. Furthermore, many individuals cited teamwork as one of the biggest factors in their learning experience and reason for enjoying the residential.
I feel that my development as a worker has progressed every year during my placement at Frenford Clubs, due to the experience I gained from working full-time, which enabled me to learn on the job, combined with studying for my degree. Completing my education over the last five years has been a long but fruitful journey, which has enabled me to learn a great deal about informal education and I look forward to putting the theories I have learnt into practice. I have now completed my degree and was awarded a 2:1 in Social pedagogy (Youth Work and community learning & development), which I was delighted with. Frenford Clubs are also in the position to keep me employed full-time, so I will be staying on as an assistant manager.”
Daniel’s line manager further describes how the YAP programme benefited Daniel and Frenford Clubs:
”It has been a wonderful journey for Daniel and for Frenford Clubs. Daniel has now developed into a senior youth worker who has taken on managerial duties, due to his confidence and maturity when dealing with problems and new challenges. He continues to be a favourite of the young people and leads a team of volunteer and paid staff on a daily basis. I would like to say a big thank-you to The Rank Foundation for the support and funding invested in Daniel. He is very much an integral part of Frenford Clubs and is definitely not the shy young man he was at his interview 5 years ago.”
Frenford Clubs still have big plans for the future, with planning permission in for the 11-a-side astroturf football pitch with floodlights. Frenford Clubs hopes this will help the organisation become more self-sustainable and secure the future of the club. Frenford Clubs are also aiming to boost female participation in their activities, which is going well at the moment, with female only arts & crafts, basketball, zumba and football as well as the mixed sessions. Disability projects are also a big part of the Clubs future, with wheelchair basketball and cricket already established, as well as disabled multi-sport sessions and independent living programmes.