Magic Youth Club

Completed: 2018
Location: Blackpool
Region: North West
Other local partners: Blackpool Council, Careers & Enterprise Company, Merseyside Police

About the project

The Magic Club project in Claremont, Blackpool (one of the poorest wards in the UK), involved the refurbishment and repurposing of an old, derelict magician’s theatre as a new youth club/youth centre.

More than 50 young people volunteered on the project, recruited via The Prince’s Trust and also, in partnership with The Careers & Enterprise Company, Merseyside Police, and local schools and colleges. Working with a team of VIY Mentors, the participants took on a variety of jobs, including stripping out old fittings and furnishings, installing a new kitchen and toilet, installing a new disabled access doorway and ramp, relaying and levelling the main hall floor, and painting and decorating throughout. In the process, participants worked towards achieving a City & Guilds Entry Level 3 employability skills qualification.

Project activities were principally funded by Blackpool Council, The Careers & Enterprise Company, Merseyside Police and Wickes, with Wickes also providing all tools and materials at no cost.

50% of the school students who took part in the project were on the brink of exclusion, or had recently returned to school having been excluded, and the schools subsequently reported that all of these students remained successfully engaged at school six months beyond the end of their VIY experience.

The centre was officially opened in March 2018 and is now a bustling youth club, the only one in Claremont. The club already has 140 members aged 8-16 regularly attending and currently runs three sessions a week, covering activities such as sports and drama, and workshops on relationships, sexual health and identity. The centre also continues to host ‘hands on’ VIY workshops to engage new cohorts of young people wanting to learn vocational trade skills.

The VIY Magic Club project was also visited and commended by Dame Julia Cleverdon, Vice President of Business In The Community and a board member at The Careers & Enterprise Company.