By Dan Barron & Sam Dixon, Heart of the Community Project Workers
Henley is an area within Rotherham that, like many others, has a lack of assets and local resources. The community around the centre at Oates close is primarily a mixture of older people in bungalows and families. Friends of Henley has been created to provide a safe and constructive environment for children and their families in a community that has to overcome many social and economic issues.
Led by their community volunteer Jo, they turned the long drag of the six weeks holidays into a summer that helped to provide respite for parents and strengthened the bonds of friendship for everyone. From painting to crafts to Lego there was something for everyone to be able to unleash their creative streak.
The children and their carers were overwhelmingly positive about the summer club.
“I like it that there’s something local for the estate”Parent
” It’s nice to all the kids together”Parent
“It’s great to see something good happening in the community”Parent
“We love crafts, and we don’t get to do it too much at home”Child
“I’ve had fun coming in the holidays”Child
Building on the success of the Oates Close Summer Club the group are going to continue to provide a provision for the children in the area with the introduction of the Friends of Henley Kids Club. This will be open to all local young people. The club will provide an opportunity for them to complete homework tasks with support from their peers and to kick back and join in with activities that will be facilitated by the groups volunteer leads.