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Youth Summer Programme leaves lasting impression...

Throughout the month of August, Southend YMCA hosted a free Summer

Programme at Leigh Community Centre for children aged 8-12 years old.

The programme was funded through the Department for Education’s Holiday

Activity Fund in Partnership with Southend Borough Council included many

fun activities such as sports, music, games, art and historical walks around

the town of Leigh-on-sea.

One of these activities has made a permanent impression in the heart of

Leigh-on-sea with a colourful mural painted by the young participants

alongside the guidance of local artist Darren Jones. The painting was

completed during 5 sessions over the 4 weeks of the Summer Programme

and was set in place during the last days of the month.

Aptly named “A View of Leigh-On-Sea” this huge piece of art is made up of

136 20cmx20cm squares of painted paper using only the primary colours as

the young artists learnt how to mix the paints the make the secondary colours

and shades that appear off the painting.

You can visit this spectacular art installation in full view by visiting Leigh

Community Centre’s ‘Lorna & Lottie’s Cafe’ in which it takes full pride on

public display outside their window.

Each week a different Southend YMCA Youth Commissioner joined in to help

with the activities. They were Eugene Vlas, Marion Simakungwe, Emily Harris

and Rachel Roach.

Another firm favourite of the weekly activities was the “Historical Walks of

Leigh” supplied by Paul Carver and Zoe Nolan of Carver Tours. Exploring

Leigh’s rich historical past of local seafarers, witches and royal visits to name

just a few highlights form these fantastic and informative tours.

Paul Carver (Carver Tours) - “We are so pleased and proud that Southend

YMCA asked us to take the children on a tour. They amazed us with their

own facts and remembered so much for the quiz finale."

Southend YMCA would like say a very special thank you to Leigh Town

Council and their amazing team of caretakers Richard, Micheal, David and

Lewis who were with Southend YMCA every step of the way. And extra

appreciate to all the staff at Lorna & Lottie’s Cafe who provided the delicious

hot meals for all the children.

We've had some wonderful feedback from our staff and partners in the project:

Davey Hal (SYMCA Music Tutor/Creative Arts Youth Worker) - “They are so

proud of their collaborative work and so are we! It’s the cherry on top to such

a great month of positive activities with all this awesome kids.”

Darren Jones (Resident Artist) - “I’m so happy to have had the opportunity to

create this piece with the Southend YMCA, it was an honour and pleasure to

be a part of.”

Paul Carver (Carver Tours) - “We are so pleased and proud that Southend

YMCA asked us to take the children on a tour. They amazed us with their

own facts and remembered so much for the quiz finale!” (Facebook -


And, most importantly, from our young people (make sure you scroll through and read them all):

Our volunteer Youth Commissioners were also involved in the project:

Emily Harris

"During the holidays I took part in the summer programme at the Leigh

Community Centre. We offered lots of different activities ranging from arts

and craft, pool and darts, and at the end of the week a history tour of Leigh. I

really enjoyed working with the young people and helping them with their own

projects whether that be as a mug stand while someone developed their

artistic masterpiece or as Colonel Mustard in Cluedo. Most of all I enjoyed the

walking tour of Leigh and learning more about our rich local history. One

aspect I will always be grateful for is the opportunity to have learnt from the

kids who attended in both practical aspects such table tennis and more

abstract lessons of the importance of play."

Marion Simakungwe

"I had a great experience working at the YMCA’s Summer Club

Programme, I set up games for the young people to enjoy and worked

on various art projects, including mug painting and a big art piece for the

Leigh Community Centre cafe. It was great to be able to do activities in

person this year and it was lovely to see the young people having fun

and making new friends. 

My favourite part of the programme would definitely have to be the art

projects. To my surprise I loved the mug painting, as Davey had set up a

‘Mystery Mug’ activity where we given a random theme and had to paint

anything relating to the theme. I had even spent a full day just painting

mugs, having become fully qualified in painting bees! Some of the young

people even got involved in setting up and directing interviews, during

which they spoke with Darren and some of their friends about their time

at the Youth Club and what they enjoyed most about it. I thoroughly

enjoyed my time at the Youth Club and would 100% recommend it for

anyone interested in joining in the future."

Eugene Vlas

"The summer programme brought to me the pleasure of being able to spend the day playing games, doing activities and talking with the lovely attendees throughout the week! It was a great way to spend the day with a highlight definitely being the collaborative painting and some intense games of ‘Uno’.

I am grateful to be a part of the summer programme this year and hope everyone else enjoyed their time there."

Rachel Roach

"I really enjoyed getting to meet all the young people through various activities like

pool, table tennis, badminton, art, cards and board games. This was insightful and

would spark conversations involving how they didn’t feel confident to do something or

how the young person learnt how to play that activity and sharing their fond memories.

The young people would teach me different card games and some I haven’t played

since I was a young person myself! It was nice to see some of the young people were

excited and enjoyed meeting new people and making new friends. I liked how all the

young people participated and enjoyed the Art project of the Leigh mural and engaged in the Historical walks around Leigh on sea.

The best part about the historical walks was seeing how much historical knowledge

the young people had about Leigh on sea, that they were not shy to ask questions and

how much fun they had seeing all the different places."

Well done everyone!! What a fantastic achievement.
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