New Benchmark Scheme to help quality check Somerset’s youth clubs

Somerset’s youth clubs will need to meet new quality standards from this month.

The County Council’s Somerset Youth and Community Service launched its ‘Benchmark Scheme’ last year, and from this month all clubs that receive funding from the service will need to have achieved level one of this scheme.

The Benchmark Scheme is broken down into three levels and aims to ensure all young people know what they can expect and the standard of care they will receive whilst attending the youth club.

‘Safe & Welcoming’ – level one

‘Quality Youth Club’ – level two

‘Quality Youth Club Plus’ – level three

Each level is then split into a further areas looking at what young people can expect to experience at the club, the people who contribute to or work in the club, and policies procedures and paperwork.

To achieve the Benchmark Scheme award at any level each youth club will need to provide supporting evidence for all the criteria.

Cllr Frances Nicholson, Cabinet Member for Children and Families at Somerset County Council, said: “It is reassuring for parents and carers to know that their youth club is safe, sustainable and ‘young people friendly’. Once a youth club has gained the award, it becomes instantly recognisable to young people and their families as a great resource for their community.”

A spokesperson for Tatworth Community Youth Club (TCYC) said; “Working towards the Safe & Welcome Benchmark is a challenge, but it is well worth it.

“Safe & Welcoming provided a good opportunity to develop an ethos of safe practice for us, with our local church council gaining a better understanding of their responsibility, especially in terms of ensuring our hall provides a safe environment to host our youth group. It’s been a great way to encourage commitment to the future development of TCYC.”

For further details about Somerset Youth and Community Services, or to understand how your youth club can get involved with the Benchmark Scheme please contact Zara Scott-Davies, 07919 540738 zscottdavies@somerset.gov.uk or Kirstie Brown, 07899 700170 kbrown@somerset.gov.uk.