Wednesday, 30 April 2008

The Importance of After School clubs and activities

This week in the news it has been reported that in the region of 500 schools are having their after school club budgets cut in Northern Ireland.

Now due to the financial situation of the UK and the changes in society with higher numbers of single parent families the importance and demand of these clubs is much higher. Many families cannot afford the rising cost of childcare and cannot afford to clock off work early and lose hours of paid work.

On top of this we have national rises in the level of youth related crime with many people and organisations crying out for better facilities for young people to keep them off the street. This is why I think it is a sad day when things like this happen and cutting their budgets is a very short sighted idea as the money saved by this could be lost in the rise of youth crime, the change in the financial situation of many homes and parents contributing less working hours in a week which through rising taxation pumps money back in to the government.

I think after school clubs can play a vital role in a child’s development and should be used by children regardless of if they did have someone at home who could look after them. After school clubs provide great learning environments for young people as it gives them freedom to learn more about what interests them in a less formal setting. These clubs also give young people chance to do their homework and catch up with work without all the noise and distractions they have at home so they can reduce a better high quality result or piece of work to hand in.

It’s not just on the education side that clubs help young people as there are also many sporting clubs which are great for helping keep our nation of young people healthy and save the NHS on time and resources. Sporting clubs also help young people with key things like team work. After school clubs also help broaden young peoples social skills and circle as they get to interact with people they may not be in classes with and form strong bonds with a good group of friends.

I think anything that keeps young people away from the TV and the video games whilst giving them a safe and controlled environment to develop and grow should be commended and not have their budgets taken away.

Adam Sibley
Founder of the Talented Young People organisation
"Envisage it, Believe it, Achieve it!"

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