Shrewsbury School

An update from The Shewsy

Thursday 4 June 2020

Updates on recent activities at The Shewsy by Mrs Drew and John Dumbell, Team Leader at The Shewsy.

Kenny O’Connell, The Shewsy’s music specialist youth worker, has been working on a song about the history of the Shewsy and has produced some fantastic footage to accompany it. It features former Shewsy School gapper, Emma Gardner and current member, Ava Mansfield on backing vocals, writes John Hutchison, the Chair of the Board.

Are you thinking about a Gap Year? How about spending 3 months working (all expenses paid) at The Shewsy? At a time to suit you, gaining experience with young people, in a very welcoming community. Apply, or ask questions, by emailing

John Dumbell, Team Leader at The Shewsy, has kept in touch with Club members all through the lockdown, and they have put together The Shewsy Playlist - to brighten your day.

Here is an update by John Dumbell, from earlier in the Summer Term:

There will always be a need for youth work! Bold statement yes but given the unfortunate circumstances of the past few months this statement has become more of a reality.

Once the government announced lockdown the staff team where quick to think of possible ways to remain engaged with our young people.

The longer we remain closed the more concerned I am becoming for the wellbeing of some of our members. Only yesterday I was on a bike ride with an ex member who has managed to get his life back on track after 10 years of addiction and he asked me if we still have a weekend at Shewsy School. After a lengthy discussion about his time at the club he told me the only time he would get a proper meal was when he was at the Shewsy and in fact the only time he would get 3 meals a day was the weekend visit to the school where, in his words, “We were treated like royalty John, always made to feel welcome, it was as if we were paying pupils.”  This immediately made me think of a number of current members who in the current climate could well be in the same boat. The sooner we are able to get the young people back in, the better.

I am contacting as many families as possible in the coming days by phone to see if there is any way the club can help.

The main source of contact has undoubtedly been through social media. This has proven a very popular and effective way of remaining in touch with current members as well as reaching out to ex members too.

The Instagram page has remained a very popular source of contact; Charlie, Tom and I hosted an Instagram live session which allowed young people to ask any questions and allowed us to give an update on what’s happening whilst club is closed.  Thomas has recorded a post recalling his best memory since he has been at the club and I have created a post in which staff faces are photoshopped on to club photos in a "Where’s Wally?" type game. This can be found on the main Instagram page if you would like to give it a try!!

Each week we have posted Henry Corbett’s Thought for the week on Twitter and Facebook, this has proven a hit with ex members in particular as we have received plenty of positive feedback from it.

In terms of the young people and current members. Each day we will post on our story which will remain online for 24 hours. These posts have included quizzes for the young people to take part in, some brainteasers/riddles and a whole host of photos from past and present. Each post on the story has averaged over 500 views in a 24-hour period many of them acting as a conversation starter between the staff and young people.

Youth worker Charlie Hughes delivered our first live youth work Q and A and totalled over 100 views with an average of 45 young people engaged throughout the whole session.

Thomas produced a short video of himself reading children’s classic The Owl and The Pussycat aimed at our junior club members.

We have hosted 2 Zoom sessions for the young people, one with our Causeway group allowing 20 of them to remain in contact with their friends from Dublin.  The other was a quiz in which 3 staff (John Tom and Ryan) and 8 young people. This was a lot of fun and more have been arranged with topical discussions also suggested for future Zooms.

Ryan Fitzpatrick has set up a Shewsy ‘Desert Island Disks’ playlist on YouTube which in which staff and young people had to choose 2 songs they would like to be stuck with on a desert island.

Kenny O’Connell has been working on a song about the history of the Shewsy and has produced some fantastic footage to accompany it. The song is available to view on YouTube and features former Shewsy School gapper Emma Gardner and current member Ava Mansfield on backing vocals.

In Easter week, we created an online Easter bonnet parade with a prize for the winning entry.

The young people are chomping at the bit to get back in the club and are in constant contact with the staff who are also really keen to get back to it.

We will continue to work as a team albeit remotely to provide the best possible support for our young people and their families during this difficult period and pray that none of our loved ones are affected by this terrible virus.

Donations to the Shewsy are always welcome -

Take care.

John Dumbell, Team Leader 

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