‘Friendship Buddies’ in training at Derbyshire Hill Youth Club

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A scheme to give isolated children a safe haven has been launched at a St helens Youth Club.

Young people from Derbyshire Hill Youth Club are in training to become ‘friendship buddies’ after the club’s senior members created a place for sad or isolated friends.

The centre’s Junior Club, whose members are aged between five and 11, came up with the idea of a Friendship Bench.

It was designed and created by Jayne Hill, Robbie Birchall, Codie Walker and Leanne Hardman aged 13, and Briony Kelly, aged 14, all members of the Senior Club – ages 11 to 17.

It is hoped It’s intended for any among the centre’s Junior Club who feel they could benefit from a sit down and chat with a designated friendship buddy – another young person who has worked with the club’s staff to develop their communication skills.

Friendship buddies wear a special t-shirt, designed by the Derbyshire Hill Juniors.

Jayne said: “I wanted to make a place where my friends at the club would feel safe. We all worked hard to make the bench and the t-shirt look good and stand out, and to communicate better, so that when someone sits on the bench, the friendship buddy will know they want to talk or play or just relax.”

The scheme has been praised by Councillor Andy Bowden, St Helens Council’s Cabinet Member for Children, Families and Young People, said: “Initiatives like this are a great example of what our young people can do. The children and young people at Derbyshire Hill have demonstrated real maturity in looking out for other club members.”