Lower Sixth Formers with members of the Shewsy Junior Club, October 2018
Appropriately, staff and pupils were all in their ‘own clothes’, in order to raise £900+ for the Youth Club.
John spoke movingly about individual children. He mentioned the five girls who went on a joint trip to Malawi with the School in 2016, none of whom had believed that further education was ‘for them’, but are now all studying at university.
He spoke about one of the current youth workers who was barred several times from the Club as a boy because of rowdy and disruptive behaviour. “But we go on giving people chances,” says John. “And we don’t turn our backs on people.” Children without boundaries are naughty, whether they are indulged or neglected, and the Club aims to give them support and consistency through informal education. “School’s not for everyone,” as John puts it. Everton remains one of the most deprived areas in the country, and at Thursday’s Junior Club session last week, for example, only 12 of the 34 children could afford to pay the £1 ‘subs’.
The Club was visited recently by a delegation led by Finland’s Minister of Education. When they were asked why they had chosen to visit the Shewsy, of all the youth clubs in the UK, they explained that they wanted to know how it had stayed such an important part of the community since 1903. Its longevity demonstrates just how successful it is.
The Club roof is badly in need of repair, but ASDA was so impressed by the contribution of the Shrewsbury School Walk to Club funds, that they have provided a £25,000 matching grant.
However, John was keen to emphasise that it’s relationships that make the partnership with the School so special. “Club and School are as close as they’ve ever been,” says John. He first became a Club Member at the age of five, and his own sons are now regulars.
There are joint activities with each year group in the School. At the Shewsy’s Summer Fayre, Jeremy Yarnell Davies (OS) and Damian Cummings, former Club member, arrived together for a pint and a catch-up. They first met on a Social Studies visit, and have been in touch since the 1980s!
At the end of John’s talk, one of the newest pupils in the School wanted to volunteer straight away, next week, in Half-Term. The partnership continues.
L-R: Dave Yarnell Davies, Damien Cummings, Jeremy Yarnell Davies