News story

Twenty Five for Twenty Five

Twenty Five for Twenty Five

Working to improve the lives of young people in the Hexham Area.

April 2023 will be a very special time in the life of Hexham Youth Initiative as it celebrates its twenty fifth birthday.

Hexham Youth Initiative - known far and wide as 'The Youthy' - came into being officially in 1998 following long conversations with the people of Hexham.  The origianl aim was both simple and ambitious and has not changed: 'to improve the lives of all young people in the Hexham area.'

The brain child of Rosemary Theobalds and councillors John Lynch and Norman Reed and with Patrick Eavis as the first chair of Trustees 'The Youthy' quickly became a powerful presence in the lives of the young people of the town and the surounding area and continues to thrive thanks to the efforts of the Project Co-ordinator, Keda Norman, and a highly qualified and dedicated core team of staff supported by the trustes and volunteer workers.

The project's work is founded on the belief that 'every young person shoudl have the opportunity to feel supported and valued' and the core staff work tirelessly to make a difference for all young people in the Hexham area.  Their work is based on 'listening, supporting and encouraging' so that young people move forward in their lives with a feeling of growing self-confidence and self-worth.  The staff seek to achieve this aim by providing emotional and practical support for all young people so that they see that they matter and that they have the power to make a difference in their own lives.

HYI provides a huge range of activities all year round embracing all young people in the area from age 8 to young adults.  These activities include regular clubs and groups such as Art Club, Young Carers, LGBT, Eco Club, Job Club, Footy, a Parents' Group and creche and the Duke of Edinburgh Award offering the change to take both bronze and silver awards.  There are also frequent drop in sessions and holiday activities for all; the activities of the 2022 summer holiday programme were attended by 370 young people with lunch provided every day thanks to funding from the Holiday Action Fund.  And lots of the sessions are just about having fun; if you want to make pancakes or burgers or learn about pumpkin carving or just to try something new then 'The Youthy' is the place for you......

'Thank you for having XXXX!  He had a fab time.'

'The girls had a mint time as usual.'

'A great day out.  They can't wait to see you tomorrow!'

HYI is based in Hexham Community Centre but works with a broad range of other providers including local schools, Tynedale Youth Forum, Hexham Community Partnership and Northumberland County Council and strives always to respond to need.  'Revamp the Ramps', for instance, is a major project to rebuild the Sele Skate Park and is an excellent example of community partnership working with Hexham Town Council providing initial funding for this exciting development.  HYI also set up a group for Ukrainian refugees arriving in the Tyne Valley; as one of the core team said, 'Everyone is welcome here.'

Diane Harris, Chair of Trustees, said 'Hexham Youth Initiative is a safe space where supportive, caring staff, initiate positive activities and wehre young people are listened to and respected.'

Over the past few years, statutory youth provision in Northumberland has been reduced greatly so the role of charities such as HYI is ever more important.'

What is clear is that the demands made on the project are growing, fuelled by post pandemic and lock down needs and the pressures of the cost of living crisi; in 2021/2 'The Youthy' worked with 684 individuals compared to 549 in the previous year with the number of contacts rising from 10,685 to 12,417.  These are massive increases in demand for a project which is a charitable organisation and which relies entirely on financial support from a wide range of local and national funders to employ its staff and carry out its vitally important work; each year the project has to raise every penny it spends and the kindness of others is what keeps the project going.  We are particularly grateful to Hexham Town Council for their support in funding half of the project's core costs over many many years.

Now, in our silver anniversary year, we are appealing for additional help.  Anyone can make a financial contribution to 'The Youthy' via the 'Support Us' section of the website.

A donation of £25, one pound for each year of HYI's birthday would be brilliant but any amount, either as a one off donation or as a monthly or annual gift makes a difference especially in this time of rising costs and growing need. 

Click here to watch our interview with Hexham TV

Our latest news...

Keep up to date with our news and activities on social