Youth club

Youth club, cinema nights, trips out, Scouts and Guides: yes, this is all happening at Birmingham Children's Hospital.

Hospital stays can be boring at times, which is why the "adolescent support service" at Birmingham Children's is there for you. It organises many activities where you can chill with other people your own age and forget your everyday stresses.

It also offers a confidential ear if you feel worried and want to talk to a youth worker in private about anything at all.

Youth clubs are held at the hospital every week, where children over the age of ten can meet up in the Play Centre, play a game of pool, use the games consoles or just chat to each other in a relaxed environment

Occasionally, there are organised activities with guest speakers and visiting artists. Less organised ones sometimes feature water fights where youth clubbers fill wide-bore syringes and zap each other outside the Play Centre!

Dave Baker, Senior Youth Worker at the hospital, says the aim of the youth clubs is to give you the space you need, away from the ward, where you can chill out and chat.

"It's important there is a place you can go where you feel empowered," says Dave. "Hospital is a place where you have things done to you, but here we operate in a totally different way and have a different relationship with the patients.

"It's all about developing mutual trust, helping you to make informed choices. This is where you can opt in to something; you are in control. It really has positive benefits and you'll have fun."

You may find someone there who has the same condition or has had the same treatment you are having, which means you can talk to someone your age about it.

"You can sometimes feel quite isolated, but we often find that the youth clubs are where there is active peer support, where the young people share information and help to put each other at ease," says Dave.

Among the organised activities is the monthly movie night, which is proving to be a huge hit. Like a small cinema, you and your family can sit together in the Education Centre lecture theatre and watch a film for free – and enjoy some yummy free popcorn and a drink.

"It gives you an opportunity to enjoy an activity as a family and even forget you are in hospital for an hour or two," says Dave. "It has become very successful and families have really welcomed it."

The youth club opens in the Play Centre on Tuesdays between 5.30pm and 7.30pm, while there are also clubs at the hospital's Parkview site in Moseley.

The young people's room on Ward 7 hosts a youth club on Wednesday lunchtimes, while on Thursday evenings the Scouts and Guides groups stage activities.

During summer holidays there are art clubs and workshops, where you can enjoy such activities as paper making, photography and "art attacks".

Dave and his colleagues have also organised short trips out for those who are well enough to leave the hospital.

For young people who want to be involved in running the hospital, there is the opportunity to join the Young Persons' Advisory Group.

 

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