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Friday, 18 April 2014

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Youngsters are the winners as Phoenix marks 10 years

THE Phoenix Youth Project (PYP) has been busy in 2013.

It celebrated 10 years of serving the community, while the young people took trips to Muncaster Castle, took part in a football competition, watched a Super League rugby game – and tidied up their towns.

Working in Frizington, Moor Row, and Cleator Moor, PYP delivers evening sessions, activities and residential trips to over 700 young people aged eight to 19.

The project’s youth development officer, Paul Rowe, has reflected on the highlights for the group over the past 12 months.

He said: “The project has continued to develop well over the past 12 months and has had another year of real success and exciting times for our young people.”

At PYP, youngsters are encouraged to learn and take part in activities that will better the community. They collect points which are saved up and cashed in for rewards throughout the year.

Eight points are given for every workshop completed – this could be anything from learning about the danger of smoking to sexual health.

Twelve points will be given for every hour a young person participates in community tasks.

At the start of the year, Cleator Moor members and Home Group tidied their town with a litter pick, and were rewarded with a Tae Kwon Do lesson.

In November, as part of the Whitehaven Action Group’s Shop Local Day, PYP members offered a gift-wrapping service to shoppers.

During the school holidays, there were trips away for those youngsters who had earned enough points.

In Easter, 10 people went to Walby Farm Park and a group of 14 watched a rugby match at Wigan. And in May, there was a paintballing trip for the older group and the younger ones went to Muncaster Castle.

Paul said: “The young people worked hard this year with their tasks and some have earned enough points for a trip to see the panto, Snow White, at the Sands Centre.”

Work was done throughout the year to continue to strengthen community links, and in February, a football competition was organised at Cleator Moor as part of a police crackdown on anti-social behaviour. The Copeland Neighbourhood Policing Team organised the event to try and engage with the local youth.

The start of the year was also a time to reflect on previous successes. During its AGM, 49 nationally accredited awards were handed out.

Paul said: “This is a great achievement individually for the young people and for the staff and volunteers who encourage these achievements.”

In August, the team received good news as the Copeland Community Fund agreed to back the Friday Night Project for another three years.

“We always aim to make this most exciting night of the week to give young people a real alternative to drinking and experimenting with drugs,” said Paul.

It was a big month for PYP, which turned 10 in August. Seven hundred people celebrated with a fun day at Cleator Moor Square.

Paul said: “The fact that we are still here 10 years on with such great support shows how much of a part of the community we really are.”

During the day, there was a climbing wall, bouncy castle, Miami Fair ride, along with many stalls and other attractions.

When looking back on the year as whole, Paul said: “First and foremost, it is fun and our team of youth workers are excellent at engaging with the young people that we support.”

The PYP reopens after the Christmas break on Thursday, January 2.

Moor Row is open on Wednesday evenings, Frizington is open every Monday, Wednesday and Friday and the Cleator Moor branch is open Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

Sessions for eight to 12-year-olds run from 6pm to 7.30pm, and the older group (13 to 19) meet at 7.30pm and 9pm. The Friday session is only for 13 to 19-year-olds and runs from 6pm to 8pm.

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