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Youth Worker (1995-2000)

Bristol 5 Boys' Club

(latterly Bristol 5 Club for Young People)

Howard was recruited to the then Bristol 5 Boys' Club following the retirement of the previous post holder. In common with the situation at the YMCA, the local authority (who were providing the funding for the post) wanted to see substantial change in the club.


The priorities were simple;

  • Introduce a recognised programme of youth work based on social education

  • Integrate girls and young women into the previously boys only club

  • Change the club name to reflect the above change of emphasis

  • Build community use of the premises to enhance local reputation and improve financial position of the club.


On taking up appointment it was clear that the existing membership, staff and board did not support the required changes - so much so that the board threatened to resign en-masse if the changes were attempted. The result was a long steady process of change and change management which succeeded in bringing the required changes with the loss of only one board member (the treasurer) due to the changes.


By the end of his five year tenure the following key achievements were realised;

  • redevelopment and redecoration of the physical premises and minibus

  • a recognised programme of social education introduced and developed - building on the pre-existing sports based working, and adding arts-based activities as well as projects/thematic work

  • introduction of girls and young women into the mainstream club programme as well as support for their specific needs

  • club name changed to Bristol 5 Club for Young People to reflect mixed membership

  • membership and attendance levels raised to record levels (350 members and 250+ weekly attendance)

  • young people's involvement in decision making introduced

  • strong partnership working established with local youth team

  • substantial track record in child protection/safeguarding with young people considering the club as 'the' place to be for support

  • extensive programme of activities including residential working, project work and holiday programmes developed

  • increased community and rental use of premises to secure income and community value - particularly an after school club which also provided employment opportunities for club members

  • computerisation of all budget and accounting processes including payroll

  • development of appropriate office and administrative procedures

  • maintenance of board membership - with exception of treasurer who was replaced following the agreement to move the book keeping into the club office

Comments received;


"I know that you appreciate 'the art of the possible' is the only way to be successful in implementing change. You have a very clear idea of where you would like to take your club and I don't doubt that, little by little, you will achieve your aims."


Colin Groves

National Director

NABC Clubs for Young People

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