Exmouth youngsters celebrate as The Hive re-opens
- Credit: Jenni Scott
Young people in Exmouth now have ‘something to look forward to’ after a youth centre reopened its doors.
The coronavirus pandemic meant that The Hive, in Imperial Road, closed last year as youth clubs moved their services online.
Now, as the doors open once again at the youth centre, operated by SPACE on behalf of Devon County Council, in Exmouth, Exeter, young people are returning.
One of The Hive users, Tamzin, said it was ‘fun’ to be back, adding: “it wasn't as noisy as online, I had somewhere to go, even though I ring my friends it was nice to see them in person”
Fellow Hive user Brandon added: "I haven't had anything to look forward to till now and now I have."
Grey, who also attends The Hive, said: "It's great to reconnect with people I never see. You can always talk to people and be yourself. It's safe. I can listen to cool music."
"There is a diverse amount of activities so your never bored," said Anna, another user.
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It’s a cautious re-opening though, while restrictions remain in place to halt the spread of coronavirus.
Rather than the longer pre-coronavirus evening sessions, groups now are no larger than 15 young people, and SPACE are holding two or three shorter sessions each evening.
But while face-to-face sessions are re-starting, SPACE is continuing to develop their online offer, with the launch of a new website this week, www.spaceyouthservices.org
One of the new developments is a Live Chat function for young people to reach youth workers.
“We’ve developed a range of online services since March 2020, which have really taken off,” says Jen Whitley, Head of Innovation at SPACE.
“And it’s important that we maintain those connections, not just now because of restrictions, but hopefully in future.”
But while their online presence has taken off, the youth service has also maintained its physical presence during coronavirus, engaging with young people on the streets to improve social connectedness and keep young people safe.
“As restrictions ease further and young people get together outdoors more, our outreach into local communities is really important,” added Jen.