Opportunities for young people in Rotherham can be hard to come by.
But one local charity has been working for nearly 10 years to open doors to better lives for young people.
Founded in Kiveton Park, Just Another Dance Event (JADE) began as a regular event to get young people off the streets and into a safe environment, where they could engage in fun activities.
It has since grown into a youth centre which offers one-to-one mentoring as well as non-mainstream education support and much more besides.
Its success has been felt across the local area and in the last two years alone there have been over 6,000 attendances from 811 young people.
‘There was a lack of opportunity for young people after mines closed’Sam Oldroyd
Its services have helped users to achieve 76 new qualifications and enabled 52 to take part in volunteering in their local community.
JADE has made such an impact that they have opened a secondary youth centre in Dinnington so they can extend their reach into other areas of Rotherham.
Sam Oldroyd, 35, is one of the original founders of the project and continues to lead on JADE’s work.
Sam said: “JADE was started not just by me but by a group of young people from Kiveton. The motivation was that there was a lack of opportunity for young people following all the mining industry closures. There was high unemployment and high crime levels and we wanted to do something about it and to get young people off the streets.
“We’re still delivering sessions in Kiveton and we have moved to Dinnington too because we wanted to make ourselves more accessible to more people. We have so much more space here and we can accommodate different groups too.
“From September we are changing our timetable so we have two sessions for elderly, two for adults, two after school clubs for the little ones and three youth clubs including one in Kiveton.
“I think we can effect better changes for young people by working across the whole community.
“We are here as a community centre just as much as a youth centre now.”
After only 10 months based in their new Dinnnington centre, they have already had an impact .
Lisa Williams, who works as a youth worker and mentor at JADE, said: “Through our partnership work with the police we know that they have very few problems with the young people we are working with since we opened here. So it’s working, its doing what it’s supposed to do.
“With 60 kids running around most nights here it’s always loud and busy and not for the faint-hearted!
“But the kids have come a long way.
“It took them all this time to realise that this place is theirs and that they can do what they want here. They’ve never had anything like this before.
“The group of young people that we are currently working with, when we first got started some of them were usually in big trouble with the police and their behaviour was out of control.
“So we’ve come in and are helping them change that behaviour.”
Local grant making charity South Yorkshire’s Community Foundation awarded JADE their first grant to help them get the project off the ground and have worked with them regularly since.
The foundation’s chief executive Ruth Willis said: “We have worked with JADE for a long time and I can’t see that changing.
“Everyone who works there is so dedicated and Sam always takes the time to let us know how they are doing and what they are up to. Watching them grow over the years has been so rewarding and we know that they are only going to go from strength to strength.
“We work hard to keep funding opportunities open for groups like JADE all over South Yorkshire.
“We have been doing it for 30 years and in that time have awarded over £26million in grants. Being the first grant funder to support JADE is a strong reminder of why we need to keep working hard to keep funding available for charitable groups in our region.”
Sam added: “It’s difficult enough being a young person but if you’re living in a community where there is a lack of opportunity and support it is magnified.
“So young people need places like this. Somewhere they can get support in an informal setting with positive role models to talk to.
“Here they can take part in opportunities and activities they wouldn’t be able to access otherwise. I think that is a very vital thing.
“Everything we have here is a draw to get people through the door, so we can build relationships and help with issues in their lives.”
To find out more about Just Another Dance Event (JADE) go to JADE Young Peoples Charity Facebook page
If you would like to support JADE call 01909 565639 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
To find out if you are eligible for grant support from South Yorkshire’s Community Foundation (SYCF) go to South Yorkshire Community Foundation
SYCF helps local individuals and businesses to give back effectively to their community. If you would like to give then call 0114 242 4857 or go to South Yorkshire Community Foundation
SYCF is celebrating its 30th birthday – give a birthday gift today by texting: SYCF30 £3 to 70070 or go to South Yorkshire Community Foundation Just Giving