TAG Youth Club has seen a lot of changes over the last 12 Months. In January 2016 we were notified that Kingston Council’s funding for local charities and services was changing to become a commissioning service. The Grants/Funding we received from the local authority was transferred to Achieving for Children (AfC) commission services . U nfortunately TAG did not meet the specific criteria for commissioning . I t was therefore understandable that the management committee had some choices to make on cost reduction. AfC also decided that they were going to close down a number of youth centres, including Devon Way in Chessington. TAG had a number of options open ; the TAG committee decided that partnering with Me Too & Co was the best option for the future security and viability of the club and relocated the club to Ham. Me too & Co under the C hairmanship of Jo hn Doherty supported and part funded the relocation, as well as funding an extra member of staff to support children who attended from the London borough of Richmond.
TAG still had a funding gap that required immediate action and resolution. It therefore became evident that the best resource and provision of service for young adults with additional needs was to become a charity in our own right to secure and provide long term viability. TAG and Me too & Co mutually ended its partnership and we would like to thank the board of Trustees at Me too & Co for the support that was provided during our transition.
TAG Youth C lub for Disabled Y oung P eople became a charity in December 2016 which has allowed us to seek funding that was previously not open. The C ommitt ee would like to thank Richmond Parish Lands, the Rotary Club and Round Table for their donations as well as AfC who have continued to support us on a strategy level. Our special thanks goes to Peter Moorcock from AfC Youth Service, Heather Matthew from R ichmond CVS and Sharon La Ronde from Richmond Parish Lands for all their kind support. We also want to thank all of our parents and friends of our young people who have run or donated so generously to various fund – raising events.
Funding, so far, has been located and applied for by Giles Hobart. The C ommittee felt that it was therefore evident to resource a fundraiser for the role of providing support for essential funds for the C lub, therefore allowing Giles to manage the needs of the Youth Club operati ons. We were pleased to invite Jason Bowles to take on this role. We would like to thank Giles and Jason for all their efforts. Jason has also become a volunteer on alternate club nights, of which we are also grateful.
With our relocation to Ham, T AG ha s concentrated huge efforts to attract young people from Richmond Borough (Marketing sent to all SEN families in the borough of Richmond). We also have young adults from surrounding London boroughs and Surrey, including Kingston, Sutton, Leatherhead and E lmbridge . Our membership continues to grow and in the last 12 months we have reached 124 young people. The uniqueness of TAG can be proved by its growth and consistency in popular weekly events with positive feedback from the young adults and users.
TAG has been able to join London Youth and we are well on our way to achiev ing their bronze quality mark . Looking forward we aim to progess and achieve both the London Youth’s Silver and Gold quality marks . The T AG C ommittee also felt that it was necessary to launch the Young Person’s Board. Three elected young Disabled Adults from the board are therefore able to meet regularly and review what is working and additionally provide feedback to the T AG C ommittee board. A representative from the YPB will join the M anagement C ommittee meetings and this will help us to continue to develop and ensure that the young adult ’ s voice and opinion is represented at all levels of key decision making on events . I t is, after all, th eir club!
TAG youth club is age restricted to 15 – 25 . H owever, some families ha ve approached Tag to ask if their child under 15 years could attend. As a C ommittee we felt that the age restriction was necessary as we feel that young people, even at a speci alist club, should be with others at a similar stage of life.
However TAG , understan ding the need for a “young person’s youth club” , wanted to provide an opportunity for younger teenagers . A s the evidence in our recent parents questionnaire research in t he borough demonstrated , that there is a need for such a provision. In March, the M anagement C ommittee have decided to launch TAG Junior Club for 10 – 15 years of age, from May 2017.
Thanks and appreciation for the outstanding work and contribution to the c lub f irstly, to Giles, who puts in far more hours, planning and execution of a great club and creative events than he is actually paid for. To Geraldine Burgess who has been keeping our finance books. Additionally to the M anagement C ommittee who give up their free time helping to support the club, keeping it fresh and relevant. To the staff and volunteers who run the club on a weekly basis, throughout the year, even during holidays.
2016/17 has been a very busy year. However, we want to continue develop ing and improving the club. More funding has to be sought and m ore fundraising events to be put on. So I finish by simply asking you this: would you consider putting on an event or sponsored activity this year to help keep your child’s club running? We want to see more happening in 2017/18 – to develop, both the Youth Club and the Junior Club and to attract more young people from Richmond and the surrounding areas to experience the best club around.