What do we know about young people in Bideford?

  • Bideford has 3 areas in the most deprived LSOA quartile
  • 16.6% of pupils in Bideford have Free School meals compared to a UK average of 18.2% eligible for FSM in 2012
  • 551 children have special education needs
  • Bideford has higher rates of admission to a hospital bed as a consequence of self harm in comparison to the rest of the County for young people
  • School exclusions in Bideford are amongst the highest in the county
  • 16.5% of children 0-15 are benefits dependent compared to 12.4% for the County
  • 8% of young people in substance misuse treatment in Devon come from Bideford

Third sector agencies working in Bideford/Northam

  • CAN SAY Youth Group
  • Youth Club at Broomhayes School
  • Bideford Street Pastors
  • Boys 2 Men
  • Devon Autism Centre
  • Education Support Service at Broomhayes School
  • North Devon Forum for Autism and Related Behaviours
  • Families in Grief (FiG)
  • ICAN short break scheme
  • Happy Café
  • Citizens Advice Bureau
  • Torridge Community Transport Association
  • Torridge Ring and Ride
  • Disability Swimming
  • Bideford School Pastors
  • Bideford Foodbank
  • Bideford College Hearing Support Centre
  • Carewise – Bideford Drop In
  • TTVS
  • Tor Homes Floating Support
  • Wings South West
  • Tarka working in partnership with DYS
  • Seize the Moment
  • Cross Street Youth Club

Public sector agencies working in Bideford/Northam

  • Young Parents Group at Wings Hall
  • After school club at Bideford Youth Centre
  • Bideford Youth Centre
  • Yoofy at Bideford Youth Centre
  • Yoofy at East-the-Water
  • Dreamcatchers Yoofy – youth service social care, targeted work with care leavers
  • D & S Fire Services in DYS partnership – road safety and driver awareness
  • Street work – direct engagement DYS
  • YISP in partnership with DYS
  • YOT in partnership with DYS
  • Bideford Hospital GUM clinic

Following face to face feedback from Devon Youth Service Staff and comments on the web site the information on this page has been updated.

17 comments on “Bideford/Northam

  1. Tina Ley |

    I have worked very closely with the Bideford Youth service provision as part of my job role within the YISP team part of Devons YOS service. I work with young people every day most of which come from Bideford and its surrounding areas.My job role is to prevent young people from becoming part of the criminal justice system this is to protect them and of course the wider community. In order for the the young people I work with to actually care about the impact their behaviour has on the community they need to feel cared for and wanted by the community.Any young person I have worked with who has used the youth provision in Bideford have found a caring and nurturing environment there. The adults they meet there and I have met whilst working there genuinely care about them and the quality of their lives. It is a space that young people feel they own but also one that feels safe and inclusive for them. In a large part this is down to the skill of the workers there in bringing out the best in all the young people who attend and knowing when to be there for them and when to just let them be.I feel it would be very shortsighted to take away a provision that costs so little to the community when compared to the cost to the community of providing for young people who do enter the youth justice system a risk we all take if more cuts are made to young peoples provision within their own communities.

  2. Anthony May |

    I feel that the Youth Service in Bideford is a well developed and essential resource in the local community. It would be a travisty to see any reduction in service and the main advantage of this provision is that it is open to all youngsters from all backgrounds. I constantly hear very positive comments from the students at Bideford College who attend the centre and the facilities available to them are fantastic. We have also ran projects together that have lead to other students being introduced to the youth club and we have seen their confidence grow. I feel that any change to this service would be at the detriment to the children of Bideford.

  3. Pete Thorn |

    I am the Chair of Bideford Canoe Club, which is located adjacent to Bideford Youth Centre. For many years we have worked in collaboration with the Youth Workers and young people. We have a Service Level Agreement whereby we provide free canoeing sessions for Centre members, using qualified coaches and Canoe England approved standards of equipment and procedures. In return we use storage facilities in the Centre building. This is beneficial to both organisations as we are likely to recruit new young members for canoeing, while the Centre gets good quality sessions at no financial cost. We have always been impressed with the relationships evident between Youth Centre staff and the young people. Young people come voluntarily and you only have to talk to them to know they value those relationships, which are much more than simply recreational. Young people are supported through their problems, helped to find training and jobs and given opportunities to express their views and take responsibility. Other agencies also have beneficial effects no doubt, but young people may be compelled to engage with them (e.g. YOT) while involvement with the Youth Service is their own choice. Many of the young people involved are the ones who need support or may be considered at risk, so the Youth Centre is already meeting the need for work to be targeted at those most in need. It’s demanding and challenging work, often understated and unappreciated, because it goes on quietly on young people’s own terms. The skills and understandings which YS staff have are highly valuable, if not always valued. Please make sure they are not lost in a short term cost saving exercise.

  4. Paul Bowser |

    I am the founder and CEO of Wings. Although all the organisations listed work with children and young people, many carry out their excellent work through specialism to one degree or another. As already commented, only two Bideford-based organisations reach a wide range of ages, abilities/disabilities and needs – The Youth Service and Wings. Both organisations are needed and there is complementarity as we work together, share best practice and support each other. At a time where the needs of children and young people in the area are escalating at least in part due to the effects of having the UK’s lowest GDP and the lowest average household income, it seems counterproductive to, in effect, contemplate pulling the doormat out from under their feet by potentially reducing the funding in The Youth Service. If we are collectively hoping to positively affect the financial and social situation of Torridge then we need to seriously look at its principal market town (Bideford) and help change the aspirations, mind set and resilience of its young people. Strategically, disenfranchising The Youth Service at this or any other time will have the opposite effect.

  5. Andrew Brock |

    In April 2013 I took over as the Sector Policing Commander for Torridge, during my initial months I have taken opportunities to speak to people of all ages about the level of Policing and what is good or bad in their communities.
    A constant thread particularly from younger people is the value of the Youth Service in Bideford and the interaction it provides, particularly with my Police Community Support Officers (PCSO’s). The East of the Water and Pill Youth centre buildings are good examples of this joint working and in my opinion essential in not only reducing youth crime and Anti Social behaviour but an integral part of fostering citizenship and communtiy awareness which benefit us all regardless of the role we fulfil.
    I have been very impressed by the level of identification and respect my PCSO’s have with young people. Through discussing the reasons for this they have all stated that the Youth service in Bideford is a fantastic medium to allow this interaction and relationship building. I will continue to encourage and support the joint Youth work my officers partake in and see it as an integral part of the ongoing Police strategy to deliver a community based service.

  6. Sarah Connar |

    I am a Police Community Support Officer based in East The Water and have worked in partnership with the team from Devon Youth Services for 6+ years. I really felt the need to share my positive working experience with DYS.
    My neighbourhood was subject to a high volume of anti social behaviour reports in late 2006. An adoption previously of enforcement had created a feeling of isolation and had threatened to marginalise a diverse group of people from the community namely young people.
    An approach to the local DYS team leader opened doors when searching for a solution. DYS proved to have the resource and knowhow to be effective the team have practiced and effective safeguarding policies in place and the means and skills to react to the needs of the young people. DYS set up detached work during evenings this built trust, Police were keen to be seen with DYS raising their profile as people to be associated with trust rather than distrust. This allowed genuine and truly reflective consultation it allowed young people from across the spectrum to “put in” on the process. The youth Club that opened following this process was run by DYS supported by East The Water Local Police Neighbourhood team. In the 12 months following the antisocial behaviour reports had dropped by 57% the youth session no doubt contributed to this reduction. I mention the East The Water Youth Club as I hoped it would be modelled on the main Bideford Youth Centre Sessions and I am pleased that this has been the case, to have the opportunity of at least one night a week where a young person can come in be observed and spoken to (a cheery hello) is golden this is what has been achieved. It is the chance to see worrying behaviour, it is the chance to notice changes in the young person, it is the chance to see the interaction with peers and how this is done, to study the dynamic of a group of young people. It is without any sort of stigma as (“all the kids come to yoofy!!!) It is not organised to them it is something that has always happened and always will. It is without fear or favour it is the place where the social ‘norms’ they are exposed to at home can reaffirm if they are positive or challenged if not, at the very least it asks the question of the young person at the most it can save a life. Young people who offend misbehave fall ill or show signs of struggling are the ones that would and should be flagged as an issue using existing routes. Increasingly however we live in a time where our negative behaviours can be masked so much more effectively as we interact even more remotely through technology. To see face to face and do so in safe and positive surroundings with no other agenda apart from social safe enjoyment is huge this is what is on offer at DYS open youth sessions. I used this example of our project in East The Water my main reason for doing this was the anti social behaviour and the use of DYS to tackle this we aimed to show young people how to behave in a way that benefits them and those around them. I really hope that DYS are given the chance to continue their excellent work that has no doubt had a positive impact and continues to do so in the community where I work.

  7. Kevin Connar |

    I have worked closely in partnership with Devon Youth Services team in Bideford since 2006.
    A local team that are easy to engage with, and know their community well. The team members have the credibility required to engage young people from ‘hard to reach’ groups as much as appealing to those young people from less challenging backgrounds.
    Their open and pro-partnership approach allows those agencies working with them to seamlessly engage and help where appropriate. In my current role supporting young offenders as a co located resource within Devon County, I regularly (at least 1 session weekly) use the facilities on the Pill in Bideford. This is easy to do, and the simple informality of the drop in sessions puts the young people I work with (often from hard to reach groups) at ease and removes the stigma.
    The staff have taught me much in placing young people at the heart of the work we do. They have display patience, grace and kindness and have the knack of ‘being there’. They offer in their current form an excellent continuing support strand for young people who successfully complete their work with us, but may need that further help and support as they grow.

  8. Sally Watts |

    I am working as a probation officer seconded to the North Devon Youth Offending Team. I have worked with numerous young people over the last few years and have become a close working partner of the staff at the Bideford Youth Centre. I have used their facilities to meet with young people and have used this as a way to get them introduced to the staff in their team. The facilities have been excellent as have the staff. To offer some of my clients the chance of more ‘normality’ when they can attend open sessions that compliment and carry on from the work that I have done is simply excellent. I would sincerely hope that they could carry on doing this for a long time to come.

  9. Tara Harding |

    I am a young person living in Devon, I am eighteen and training to become a youth worker. I would like to share my own experiences of Devon Youth Service. I have attended the Bideford centre since 11 years of age and I truly believe that without this open and caring environment that I would not have even thought of attending sixth form, let alone the university course that I am joining next year. To put this in a youth work context, I didn’t have the easiest of upbringings, I was involved with social services and child protection. I was also bullied at school by most of my peers. The school was not of much help to me, and their attempts to resolve the bullying failed. However the Bideford Youth Centre and its staff were my rock. They listened and they were there for me during good times and bad. They gave me a safe place to go and I was able to confide in them and get the help and advice I needed. They also provided me with a place to get away and things such as art projects or life skill projects to take my mind of my problems enough to be a real teenager for a few hours. I was able trust them and they didn’t promise anything that they couldn’t deliver. I believe that I could be in a much worse place if it wasn’t for them.

  10. Janet Davis |

    From my experience of working with Devon Youth Services, they do an outstanding job of helping young people in our community to become adults, that have purpose and full fill a vital role in our community. The refit at the Devon Youth Services has been fantastic and I though at last our young people have somewhere that is not expense that is not for tourists and that is SAFE for them to go and chill with friends. The major drawback is that due to lack of funds and staff it is not accessible to them as much as they would like.
    I would have thought it more sensible to expand what can be offered to our kids, from what is a great building, run by a team of experts. I know the staff have fantastic expertise when handling young people with very sensitive needs and working to help them cope and build their self-esteem.
    The staff are trained in handling child protection issues and know exactly how to deal effectively and swiftly with such matters. The young people have strong bonds with the staff and are cared for in a relaxed environment, away from education and authority. This is just the sort of trusting situation that allows young people to disclose and discuss very sensitive information that only trained people can deal with effectively. The staff are well connected with all the correct services and are respected for their contributions. They are able to place suitable interventions in place and work with young people so they can gain safe boundaries of behaviour and develop a sense of self-worth. This I have experienced first-hand. These people genuinely care for our kids!
    Having spent time working in the centre I know there is a lot more they could offer if they had the funding and staff; I had hoped this remodelling would have reflected that.
    Without the service as it stands I feel that many of your young people would not fit into the other services available in our community. Wings I know do a great job but their facilities are limited and again not able to meet all the demands of our community.

    The consequences of loosing this service for our community and young people is very concerning. With many of them spending more time bored and out on the streets in Bideford. For the more vulnerable young people, without the safety net of care that the Youth Service provides, their consequences arcould be far more serious.

  11. Kev Henman |

    Is there a mechanism for checking out accuracy of claims/allegations here?

  12. Clancy Stephens |

    A list of facilities that may or may not be accessable to young people in Bideford can surely not be a helpful starting point when looking at what would be left if the youth service became solely targetted.
    It seems that you are comparing aples and pears and im not sure to what end?
    It seems more sensible to look at genuine open access provision and meaningful contact with trained professionals.
    In fact most of the services listed seem to be for targetted young people such as facillities attached to specialist school ( clearly not accessable to all!)
    At this point in time the anomolies pointed out at the engagement days have not been updated.

  13. Cllr Pauline Davies |

    My ward is in a deprived area of Bideford, (EAST THE WATER). since the youth centre started up at the pollyfield community centre, the children have had some where to go, and talk about their personal problems they got at home and school, East The Water, had a very bad crime rate for ANTI-social behaviour, with kids hanging round on the streets causing problems for the area, since this youth centre was set up, the crime rate has gone down but we still need the youth provision, seeing as we have a lot of special needs around my ward with children, and without the youth centre these children and young teenagers will have no where to go and no one to talk to about their personal problems, Devon youth service has done really well, and supported the youth in my ward. to cut the youth service now would be dire, the children would go back to how they uses to be and wont be able to trust anyone to talk about their problems, this would be like taking their life line away, the Devon Youth Service is very valuable to my ward, and we couldn’t do without it. With out the youth centre the children would have no where to go even though these children are living in poverty, cutting back on the youth service would be so detrimental to these children. The children look forward to going to youth club where they fell safe and at home, please re-think about the cuts, This is the only youth club they have

    • David Braziel |

      I agree with Pauline Davis Comments ,we want to keep it as it is without the cut backs,
      this youth club at pollyfields is the only place in East the Water for the youth to go, if we want to keep the youths off the streets and to keep improving the ANTI-social behaviour in our area please leave well alone.

  14. Amy Souster |

    I believe that there are some flaws in the information provided here, such as: the community transport is provided for all ages as is the health center, citizens advice, faith based groups, family planning and sensory impairement support.
    As far as i am aware there are only two youth centres in Bideford (bideford youth centre and wings). The young farmers groups are not in bideford they are in buckland brewer and the other is in alverdiscott. The agencies that operate in broomhayes school are for people who attend broomhayes school and not for the general public.
    As an additonal point if you take off the last 3 agencies on your public sector list then you are left with agencies that are either for all ages or are only for people who attend certain organisation such as broomhayes school, some are not even in Bideford and not specificaly for young people in bideford.

  15. Andrew Branston |

    Wings centre and Bideford youth Centre are the only 2 youth centres in bideford, your data shows four? Universal access to Bideford Hospital GUM clinic? they also have a stop smoking service, a&e department, physiotherapy etc should all these be included are are they all not relevant when considering the agencies that work with young people in Bideford.

  16. Tate Devonald |

    The list of agencies in Bideford includes Youth Club at Broomhayes School which is not an agency or accessible to youth from the town, It’s part of the residential autism school. the young devon shop closed last year and when it was open it was only for young people sent there from yisp. the GUM clinic is not 3rd sector, there is no young farmers group in town – there are for some of the local villages. Within the context of remodelling the youth service, this list contains substantially out of date information and curious/ irrelevant anomolies -if the education provision at PRU is considered a service then why not the education provision at bideford college?