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Former youth club member returns as leader
ONLY a few years ago Tabatha Welham was one of the children hanging out at Kennington Youth Club.
But when Ms Welham, now 21, returns in a few weeks time, it will be as the new youth leader.
Since former youth leader Alice Dore stepped down in July, the committee running the club has been searching for an enthusiastic person to take her place.
And from September 16, the mother-of-one will take over running both the existing Monday night sessions and a new internet café due to run on Thursdays.
Ms Welham, who still lives in Kennington, said: “I used to go to the club when I was younger and my memories were that I always had a lot of fun. There were lots of people and it was quite crowded.”
After completing a health and social care course at Oxford and Cherwell Valley College, she started a degree in youth and community at Ruskin College, which she is studying part-time along with being a mother to 11-month-old baby girl Robyn.
The youth leader position will dovetail neatly with her studying and parenting commitments.
She said: “It’s good work experience for the course, and I have always liked working with young children and helping them have fun.
“The youth club is brilliant in a community like a village where maybe some of the kids don’t have support at home with homework. This is somewhere they can get that and see their friends too.”
She said she had lots of ideas about activities to plan, including football, toasting marshmallows around campfires and shadow painting.
The plan is to put on something active every week, so the young people will have an idea of what to expect and parents can be assured they will be getting something out of the experience.
Ms Welham said she was particularly excited about the internet café, which she hoped could ultimately be open to older members of the community as well.
She said: “I love that it is from the beginning instead of coming in halfway through. “The girl before me was a really good leader so that’s a lot to live up to but the internet café is starting from scratch, which is definitely exciting.”
She said she would be making internet safety a priority, talking to the youngsters about how to stay safe online and what information they should and should not give out. The club, which has its own base behind Kennington Village Centre, has more than 100 members and has been in the village for about 70 years.
The new internet café is being funded by a £6,000 grant from Oxfordshire County Council’s positive activities fund.
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