Graduate hits the ground running with youth centre role

A local community centre whose mission is to create a better world one young person at a time is being helped on its way by a University graduate.

Simbarashe (‘Simba’) Jambani – originally from Zimbabwe – has just finished his degree in Youth and Community Leadership (MA) but is already relishing his new role as Youth Work Manager at Community Court Yard located in Gold Street, Northampton.

Also called ‘The Yard’, it offers a safe and relaxed space for young people between the ages of 11 and 18 to hang out with their peers and engage in a range of fun, wellbeing oriented activities.

They can create arts and crafts, kick back to play pool and game, and find common ground with others, all geared towards creating positive connections and improving their self-awareness.

Although he’s just a few weeks in the job, Simba has hit the ground running and already has big plans to develop the centre. He says: “I am so excited about this role! I’m still settling in, but I enjoy working with my colleagues, and most importantly, the young people here are terrific. I’m responsible for the youth work sections here, so it’s my responsibility to make sure our activities run smoothly and that the staff are happy carrying out their duties.

“The Yard has so much extra potential, but one of my first priorities is to fill the place up and get even more young people to come in. Our mission is to change the narrative about young people and their place and value in our society; the stereotype some of us hold is that they are ‘problems’ or ‘issues’, that they all dwell in gangs, but this is a huge misrepresentation.

“Every day at ‘The Yard’ we meet young people who get what we do here and engage with us. I want to harness this and help them to really claim Community Court Yard as their space and, in time, for there to be more spaces like this so young people have ownership of them and their own positive future so we can flip that narrative on its head.”

Simba credits his time spent studying at University of Northampton for helping to deepen his focus and interest in this area, building on his existing qualifications and background.

He adds: “I had already graduated as a teacher and done some teaching at a high school, and this instilled in me a passion for working with young people. But I wanted something new to challenge myself, something the teaching I as qualified to do. That’s what attracted me to the Youth and Community course because there is a social education side to this, so still aligned to education. That was my big draw to the MA.

“First, the modules are so detailed, and this was the point where my transition from a purely education background to something extra was made easier. The information I got from the lecturers made it much smoother for me to go into youth work and at managerial level. Combined with the experience and insight from my two placements, the degree was immeasurably helpful in helping me put into practice what I have long been interested in doing.”

Find out more about The Yard on their website or join one of their ‘roadshows’ on Wednesday 7 and Friday 9 September (young people only), 12 September (for families), professionals who work with teenagers (Monday 19 September) and for town centre businesses (Monday 26 September).

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