Centre offers memories and more for teenagers

From cooking to Go Ape, mountain biking to socials, the Sylvia Beaufoy Centre in Petworth has it all for young people.

Tuesday, 1st June 2021, 3:41 pm

The Sylvia Beaufoy Centre has been a firm fixture in Petworth since 1962.

It was the brainchild of Sylvia Beaufoy, who lived in Petworth, a passionate lady who decided to set up the Petworth Youth Association to provide a unique service for the young people in the area.

Dan Sneller, senior youth and community development manager, said: “She was a passionate lady who lived in the town and left a legacy behind.”

Young people enjoying an activity

The PYA has since changed to the Sylvia Beaufoy Centre.

Dan said: “Our aim is to provide as many outstanding opportunities for young people as possible, giving them the chances to find their skills and interests that will support them in their transition to adult life.

“Learning skills such as working in a team with people that you may not always get along with.

“We want young people to feel like they belong in Petworth and the surrounding area and want to stay here and not feel like they need to move away for work. We want to open doors for young people to secure employment opportunities within the area.

Mini bus

“On the flip side to this, young people are subconsciously learning about positive relationships, healthy lifestyles and adolescent related challenges that if we were not here, they would not have access to apart from at school which is very time restricted.”

It runs six weekly sessions from a Monday night social for those aged 11 to 19, Evolve on Tuesday for nine to ten year olds to cooking classes, sports and mountain biking and Duke of Edinburgh.

In the school holidays it also offers extra sessions such as Go Ape, Go Karting and residential activity holidays , which this year includes a trip to Cornwall.

The youth workers bring information, support and guidance through a mix of drop-in sessions and targeted projects for the young people.

During the pandemic the centre had to move it services online which Dan says was ‘very hard’ for the centre reacting to a change in need and for young people’s mental health, they had found that numbers had fallen slightly.

He said: “But now we are re-open our numbers are increasing again.

“Our main challenge now is to re-engage with young people and support them to re learn social skills, and to support them with anxiety brought on by isolation.”

For more information, visit www.sylviabeaufoy.org and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram