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July 2nd, 2010

Working with Young Women

Fiona here. I wanted to tell you about the girls work I’ve been doing in the local secondary school, Langdon Park. I originally approached the school about doing some girls work there in response to the very low numbers of girls that were attending our Thursday night youth club sessions. This situation is replicated in youth clubs across the country. One reason is that youth clubs are typically focused around traditionally male activities such as pool and table tennis and with boys dominating the space, girls are often intimidated or uninterested and therefore marginalised. In addition to this there are cultural issues in our particular area that prevent girls from attending mixed, unstructured, evening sessions.

So I started a lunchtime girls club in the school for year 7 girls with the aim of overcoming some of the barriers mentioned above as well as supporting the girls in their transition to secondary school. A previous project I had worked for, Urban Hope, also found that building relationships with girls when they’re younger and sustaining those relationships is the key to being able to work with them in their later teenage years. With very little advertisement whatsoever we had 60 girls attend the first session! Since then we have continued to see between 30 and 60 every week. We lay out a range of games, beauty and arts and crafts activities, play music and let the girls use the space however they want (within reason!!).

As well as having good numbers we’ve had some really positive feedback from the girls…

“Its fun because you can get to do all different activities.”

“Girls Club is good because we can listen to music and be ourselves because the boys aren’t around.”

Its a place where we can socialise and meet with all the girls in year 7 because outside we dont really come across eachother.”