Our Communities team partners with various national and local organisations to offer our customers projects such as the youth movement CALM with Connect Stars. These project support communities to work together to co-design youth-led approaches to meet the needs of young people in the community.
As part of our ongoing partnership since 2019, Connect Stars use our Unity Centre facilities to deliver regular youth nights. Since the youth nights re-opened in March this year, it’s been fantastic to see so many young people joining us again to enjoy regular cooking classes, basketball, music sessions and more.
Brother and sister Mya and Aaron are Catalyst customers in our Brent neighbourhood. They joined the CALM programme in 2019 to help develop relationships and socialise with their peers.
Like many teenagers, Mya, who is 15 years old, felt the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns. With her usual social life suddenly removed, she felt isolated at home. However, as the restrictions lifted, Mya started to attend the CALM programme to help her to socialise and connect with friends again.
Abdi from Connect Stars feels that Mya has made great strides in gaining confidence and making friends, ‘She was extremely shy when she first joined the group and struggled to engage, but she’s now thriving. Mya is a passionate and enthusiastic dancer and has been able to explore her interest further with support from the programme. The programme has provided many opportunities to try new things and she has found a love for cooking, which is fantastic.’
”The programme has provided many opportunities to try new things and she has found a love for cooking, which is fantastic."Abdi, Connect Stars
Mya couldn’t agree more and is enjoying the youth nights, ‘CALM is fun, and I get to cook with my friends and try new recipes.’
Mya’s brother Aaron is also enjoying the programme, with the team commenting on how well Aaron participates and engages with the various sports sessions. Abdi says, ‘Aaron has special educational needs and finds it challenging to communicate with his peers. However, the programme has enabled him to develop his confidence and communication skills through the tailored support and activities.’
Aaron confirms this, ‘Before joining CALM, I used to chill at home and play Xbox. Now, I take part in many different activities such as cooking and football and have lots of new friends.’
Join the Connect Stars youth nights
If you’re aged 11-18, and you’d like to join the Connect Stars youth nights at the Unity Centre, please contact our Communities team at firstname.lastname@example.org
Connect Stars is a Brent-based charity helping young people access safe spaces to be creative, active and responsive in their communities.
What’s happening in your area
We offer similar youth projects and services across many of our neighbourhoods. You can find out what’s happening in your area on our supporting communities page.