FROM BOREDOM RELATED YOUTH CRIME A YOUTH CLUB WAS BORN
The N-Factor Normandy Youth Club was founded in July 2008 and launched in January 2009 after a particularly nasty drive-by-night shooting incident in Normandy involving several residents receiving air-rifle shots through the windows of their homes. Founded by Maria Angel a qualified teacher, she was concerned by the lack of out of hours non-uniform or non-faith youth services that encouraged resident children and young people, including those from the gyspy & travelling community to become more socially included in their rural community.
OUR QUIET SOCIAL REVOLUTION...
From that began a quiet revolution of fact finding, asking children and young people what they wanted from their youth club, then by creating a respectful, tolerant culture, preparing the ground to reach out to all the local youth, including the socially segregated gypsy and travelling community and encourage them to come to youth club sessions.
So from our “quiet, social revolution” of first introducing children and young people to the fact that they could own their own piece of Normandy. Then gradually introducing the more socially segregated communities to the concept of the leisure and mentoring opportunities it provided and lastly and by no means least, challenged traditional cultural divisions and prejudices amongst the established resident community, that an integrated youth club such as this could not only be tolerated, but successfully work. With an all-inclusive agenda, our 'No-Mans-Land' youth club we called The N-Factor and its 50 pence (now only £1) entrance fee, we quickly attracted the most disadvantaged in the established residential and travelling communities, those from broken homes, low-income families, NEET members and supervisors alike.
What distinguished The N-Factor right from inception, was its lack of fear in reaching out to the wider community, that would otherwise have shut its doors to ideas, was closed after school hours and those who felt specifically socially excluded from the rest of society.
"In Normandy, two kids can live right next to each other yet not know each other socially because they go to different schools, such is the remoteness of this rural community". Anon.
"Maria's fearlessness never ceases to amaze me! Never minding her own safety, with dogs barking at her heels, the intimidation and stares [when going into a new authorised caravan site for example] - makes a bee-line for the mothers, gently gets the message across what the youth club has to offer, earns their trust, then goes away in the knowledge that most of the kids on that site got the chance to go".
David Simmons 2010.
In 2010, The N-Factor Normandy Youth Club made the transition from the Normandy Royal British Legion to Normandy Village Hall, providing us with the room to equip the project to serve a much larger geographical radius including Fairlands, Wanborough, Ash Vale, Ash, Pirbright and Worplesdon.
We have a 3 year membership of over 200 children, that we actively engage and support between the ages of 8 -18 years through a regular youth club programme of workshops, social activities, creative-based and sports sessions and events. The organization has no full-time salaried staff, but is entirely reliant upon a team of 4 volunteer supervisory staff who feel that it is their right, duty and an honour to serve their local community.