Welcome to The Hunslet Club December news letter. Here, you can see all of our December highlights. As well as what we have been up to at the club over this month. As it is the season, this issue will be more of a Christmas/New Year special. So, why not give it a read and catch up on some of our festive fun activities, events and stories.
The Hunslet Christmas Market
The Hunslet Club Christmas market was a great family event, ran by our staff and volunteers. There were three main aims of this years event. First, it was important that we brought our community together to enjoy the Christmas festivities; everyone was welcome! Second, We needed to ensure every child had the opportunity to meet and receive a free gift from Santa. Lastly, we wanted to fund raise for our own organisation but importantly support other local businesses. By inviting them to have a stall on our market, they were welcome to sell their products, hand out leaflets and offer samples to local people.
The market consisted of a range of brilliant and diverse stalls including handmade gifts, art work, desserts and trinkets. For our young people though, the main event at this years market was definitely Santa’s grotto. We made sure this was free. Therefore every child in and around Leeds had the opportunity to come and meet him despite financial circumstances. With the support of Sagars, Santa’s visit lasted from 2:00PM all the way up to 6:30PM inside the club grotto which had its very own back drop, fireplace and Christmas trees. Not only did everyone who attended get to meet Santa, but they also got a free gift due to a generous donation of selection boxes. Kindly donated by our friends at Greencore and our local Morrisons!
There was also a range of Hunslet Club fundraiser stands such as a raffle, tombola, and name a reindeer, alongside our sportswear stand, where we were selling kits, merchandise and other accessories.
Day Time Scheme Christmas Dinner
On the 15th and 16th of December, we celebrated the achievements of our day time scheme students with a huge Christmas dinner. Between students, tutors and youth workers we managed to make over 40 plates of Christmas dinner over the two days.
The Day Time Education Scheme leads to accredited qualifications in motor vehicle studies, hair & beauty, sport and catering to young people who are in Key Stage 3 or Key Stage 4 often referred to us by local schools. We provide these courses to those who are at risk of low achievement in their studies or are disadvantaged by the school environment. The courses vary between a few weeks up to two years in length. Due to this scheme, thousands of young people have successfully achieved accredited qualifications and have progressed into further learning routes or job opportunities.
This year many of our students have made great achievements and grown as individuals. Not only that but they have made new friends, worked as a team and gained skills in lots of different areas. It was great to see them all take part in preparing our Christmas dinner and coming together to celebrate this year’s achievements.
Our Staff Feature: Dave Sadler
Dave Sadler is an essential asset to club as the manager of our alternative education scheme. He first began boxing for The Hunslet Boys club at just 11 years old where he trained alongside names that are still very well known and spoken fondly of here today such as, Darren Rhodes, Richie O’Coy and ,CEO, Dennis Robbins. After competing as a semi-finalist for the boys clubs championships, Dave also began his journey into the workplace, where he took up a more hands on career in mechanics for HGVs, explaining that he struggled to concentrate in the traditional side of the academic school system. He was then approached by Dennis several years later when he was 21 years old, moving into the position of a mechanics teacher for the Hunslet Club’s education scheme; helping other young people who do not benefit for the traditional education system.
Dave explained that the Alternative Education Scheme is so important for young people as there are so many reasons that they may not be performing to the best of their ability in school such as, having a difficult home life, bullying, mental health issues or simply just benefiting from a more hands-on and intuitive style of teaching to help them engage with their chosen subjects. He stated: ‘We believe in them and that’s what they need to get where they want to be’. Then, speaking about about the importance of our other qualified staff members who help to run the alternative education scheme. Explaining All of our staff have real-life experience and wisdom they can share with young people as they build relationships over the course of their time here, going on to say:
‘having empathy can’t be taught … to reach out and be a people person is a hard quality to find and that’s what we have here at the club.’
Dave finds that the most rewarding part of his role is seeing positive change in young people as they move through life. It is most important for them to grow confidence and be happy within themselves and have hope to hold onto which the Alternative education scheme can give to them with enough time and perseverance.
On top of the educational work that Dave does for young people in Leeds, he is also a Hunslet Club boxing coach for young people or all ages and abilities, teaching several sessions every week. Providing as many opportunities for young people as possible, Dave has given back so much to the club, after offering opportunities to him as a young man. We encourage young people to come along to any section they think would be a good fit for them as it provides them with a support system and personal goals for the future.
To conclude Dave explained that his favourite part of the job is coming to work and feeling like part of a big family and working with his best friends with intention of creating a better environment for the youth in our area, so they can succeed through the same system that many of our employees like Dave have undertaken themselves. finally stating – ‘what i have got out of the club and what I have put into the club, I wouldn’t swap it for the world’
Our Volunteer Feature: Kellie Cepulis
Starting out at the club as a regular volunteer, Kellie Cepulis, is now one of our fantastic boxing coaches here at the club. She started her journey when a member requested that we were in need of a female boxing coach during a time when England Boxing were hosting their first ever female boxing coach course. Kellie then came to The Hunslet Club when approached by our boxing team on completion of her boxing course. She has now been teaching at the club as a fully qualified boxing coach for 3 years.
Now teaching a range of classes including boxing development, ladies boxing fitness and primary school sport coaching, this coach is an essential member of our team with a very wide and diverse set of skills. Her role is to ensure members are able to perform to the best of their ability, putting most emphasis on maximising engagement between herself and the teams to ensure classes are fun, informative and progressive for all age groups.
Kellie still does extra voluntary work on top of the work and classes she regularly teaches. She often host’s these extra classes on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays after her weekly ones. Because of her involvement with our two competing teams as well as strengthening and conditioning classes. When the young people who Kellie teaches are in competition she will also often accompany them to matches on weekdays or weeknights to ensure her students are able to perform alongside a support system. In dedicating a lot of time to the club Kellie states that she has ‘met the most amazing people who are so supportive’ her co-workers have warmly welcomed her to the team where she now has friends for life. Coming from her previous job and working in a care home, The Hunslet Club is a place where she can now pursue a career in an area she finds most interesting, going on to say:
‘I get to work with children which is so rewarding in itself…they give me plenty of laughs but it also makes you feel good, as you feel like you are helping to shape the next generation of young people ‘… ‘ I feel very lucky to say I have succeeded through the club as it certainly wasn’t my intention. I wanted to give back by volunteering and after putting in the hours I have been rewarded in many ways. My own children now have a better and happier role model’
In teaching, she finds stimulation in the diverse range of teaching techniques, explaining that some children are very focused where as some are harder to engage which is why she has learned to quickly adapt to each situation in order to get the most out of her boxers. In future, Kellie would also like to take on another level 2 qualification in for coaching to continue her journey of becoming the best coach she can possibly be. Lastly she stated:
‘My favourite thing about my job is probably all of the people I’ve met and getting to work with children. Its always a fun, happy environment yet the children know the rules and give the upmost respect to the adults and I love that our club still has old morals going strong’
Both junior and senior youth club had fantastic Christmas parties to end the year! A celebration not only for the festive season but a celebration of our new year before we resume in January 2022.
After a year of ups, downs and uncertainties, the young people who attend youth club have found a place that they can call their own on weekday evenings. At youth club, attendees, youth workers, sports coaches and intervention staff form a great team where youth development, socialising and having fun is the top priority.
Seeing everyone come together for Christmas was a great way to sum up the year. Junior youth club had a range of exciting activities requested by our young people including, IT, football, bauble making and dance. This was shortly followed by a giant game of pass the parcel with over 50 people! While some Christmas classics played, the children were welcome to grab a plate and take whatever they wanted from our finger food buffet. At the end of a fantastic party they were also welcome to grab free gift to take home in addition to the prizes that were won.
For senior youth club, our 13+ members requested a more relaxed environment where they could choose a take away meal, listen to some of their favourite Christmas songs, and take part in table games and gaming competitions. We ordered a range of 11 pizzas and some sides all together with everyone’s favourite toppings covered! We had a brilliant time and it was definitely the perfect way to end a brilliant year with our seniors. We have seen many regulars and new visitors come though our doors this year and we are honoured to have the opportunity to be able to offer a space like this to young people with the support of our trustees and local businesses.
Christmas Activity Camp
We had another brilliant activity camp on the lead up to Christmas! With the support of Healthy Holidays, hundreds of children came through our doors to make new friends and take part in activities of their choice. This could be football, dodge ball, arts and crafts, indoor play, outdoor play, dance, gaming, IT, baking and much more!
This month’s camp ran from the 20th of December until Christmas eve and it definitely will not be forgotten. Throughout the duration of this event, we were able to have the perfect mix of our regular activity sessions as well as some festive treats. Our most popular activity is definitely the end of the day disco, where children can compete in dance competitions, party games or just have fun with new friends.
Activity camp always provides a great atmosphere for children to socialise and meet new people in their age group outside of school. It is a stress free way to spend the holidays and prioritise fun. This time around we had so many new faces join us as well as so many regular coming back. We are glad to say that this camp like many other has received an overwhelming amount of positive feedback and we thank everyone who supports this.
Two New Sessions For January!
The Hunslet club has some big news! A new timetable for 2022. On return in January, our members and visitors will be greeted by 103 activities for young people per week! Two brand new sessions will also be on the cards.
The first new session will begin at 4:00 PM on Monday the 10th of January. A session brought to the club from suggestion of our current members and social media following. Dance For Tots will be taught by a professional dance instructor and choreographer who specialises in working with young people. As this is a class for children aged 18 months to 4 years old, it will prioritise, fun, games, simple dance routines and simultaneously increase cognitive and physical development as well as social skills. We welcome any young people in this age group to come along and take part in this fantastic opportunity. Most of our activity sessions are just £1.50 with no commitment needed; making this the perfect session for newcomers or getting your little ones interested in a new hobby with opportunity to progress.
The second new session, Ballet Beginners, will start on Tuesday the 11th of January at 4:30PM. This is for any boys and girls who are aged 5+ and would like to get into Ballet or have some interest in dance. This again will be a session prioritising fun but there will be more focus on Ballet technique and children will also have potential to progress into more intricate classes and styles of dance as they partake in the sessions. Each year we have a ballet showcase in which you can come and see dancers from each section perform what they have learned throughout the year. Performing with others in front of an audience is a brilliant way to encourage young children to thrive and be confident in their chosen activity.