Case Study – Donna Hall – Youth Development Manager – The Hunslet Club
Today, Donna is a central figure at The Club overseeing our many youth projects including Youth Club and Activity. Donna started her journey at the Club as a volunteer. Here is her story
“I first started coming to the club as a young member. I had 2 older brothers who came to do boxing and I would tag along and do youth club. I also remember going on the camping trips and having a great time.
In 2004 the Club advertised for paid support workers. I was unsuccessful in my application due to a lack of experience working with children and young people. I knew this was what I wanted to do so I asked if I could do some voluntary work at the Club. I started doing 15 hours a week on a voluntary basis. At the time I was a single parent with a young child and unemployed claiming benefits to survive.
I realised straight away that I loved helping out at the Club. I started helping out in the DJ sessions and when this function expanded I ended up volunteering 5 full days a week helping out in all areas of the daytime education provision.
In February 2005 more support worker vacancies were created. I re-applied and was delighted to secure a paid position working Monday to Friday 9.30 – 2.30pm. The role was providing support to the education scheme tutors and the young people attending the provision. I did a “bit of everything” including making the sandwiches and taking them round the building in a shopping trolley.
When I had my appraisal in 2008 I was asked the question: ”where do you see yourself in 3 years time?” It really made me think about what I wanted to achieve in the future. I was advised to look at taking a formal qualification in Youth work so I applied to do a degree at University. After 4 years I achieved a degree in Youth and Community Development (BA Hons), all this whilst working a 30 hour week at The Hunslet Club. My degree, together with working at the Club helped me to increase my confidence in dealing with young people’s issues and work with the relevant support agencies where needed. I am now Child Protection Officer for the Club.
I graduated in 2012 and my career at the Club has gone from strength to strength. I took on responsibility for re-launching the Youth Club offering where numbers are now thriving and I set up the Activity camp provision which now sees up to 100 children a day having fun during the school holidays
In 2015, I was promoted to Youth Development Manager and oversee all youth projects at the Club including our successful evening vocational programme, the Monday Evening Project.
My passion is working with young people. Working at the Club is so varied. You never know what is going to happen and no two days are ever the same. I get a great sense of self-fulfilment watching the young people who come through our doors go on a journey to become responsible young adults