Set up in 1974 as The Cornwall Youth Association, we’ve been supporting local youth groups since day one.
By 1981, we’d built up the number of clubs we were supporting to an appropriate 81. Working together with our long-term partners The National Association of Boys Clubs (now Ambition) and The National Association of Youth Clubs (now UK Youth), we were organising county-wide and regional sports competitions for youth club members to get involved in.
The early ’80s saw growing concern about specific issues affecting the lives of young people – in particular unemployment, alcohol use and drug misuse, and by the mid-80s we were setting up one of Cornwall’s very first youth forums. As a result we helped by empowering young people to create positive events around youth culture in local communities – a ‘Day of Youth’ in Truro and ‘Young People’s Day’ at Culdrose.
We changed our name to Young People Cornwall in 1991. We started really focusing on driving change by setting up projects to meet the needs that young people themselves identified as important. The next two decades saw us growing in size and stature, building up a variety of programmes – Truro’s first youth centre (Zebs), a young parent’s project (WILD) and other projects tackling young people’s specific needs head on. By 1997, we were working on two of our current programmes – Zebs and Hear Our Voice – with funding from The National Lottery.
Over the last decade, Young People Cornwall has continued thriving. Our youth work is described as edgy, dynamic and innovative. We’re still pushing to make sure that our projects and programmes meet the changing needs of young people in Cornwall, and our work is diversifying. We’re now running four youth centres across the county and around 14 projects.
Our roots in supporting volunteer-led youth clubs still drive a lot of what we do today. We’ve been working alongside many of our partners for nearly 40 years, realising our ambitions of supporting young people and pushing for better futures for young people in Cornwall.