The Connecting Ripon column with Karen Weaver

Joining in with youth club activities.
Joining in with youth club activities.

The Connecting Ripon Network brings local charities and people together who offer opportunities to make a positive difference in Ripon.

This month we are focusing on projects for young people supported by Youth Development Worker Vicki Lever in Ripon and the surrounding areas.

Vicki is part of the Youth Development Team at North Yorkshire Youth which offers support to volunteers working in youth clubs and projects across the county.

This involves helping volunteers to develop a sustainable youth club in their community; helping youth groups to recruit volunteers; supporting groups to develop activity programmes; supporting young people, leaders and volunteers to access funding and resources; providing information on procedures and training for club/project leaders and volunteers.

In Ripon, Vicki supports a variety of projects including Ripon Youth Cafe (Wednesdays 6.30pm – 8pm) and Ripon Youth Theatre (Saturdays 10am – noon).

Further afield, Vicki also supports Boroughbridge Youth Club (Wednesdays 6.30pm – 8pm, Masham Youth group (Thursdays 6pm – 7.15pm) and Melmerby Youth Club (Tuesdays 7pm – 8pm). All of these projects are volunteer run and attract a wide range of children and young people.

Vicki said: “Developing new projects is exciting and fun but can also be a challenge.

“Time needs to be given to consult with children and young people as well as potential volunteers and stakeholders.

“I’ve been developing a new art project in partnership with Ripon Workhouse Museum and Ripon Library. The project will run from both venues using professional artists and local volunteers.

“A variety of themes will be explored with the finished pieces being displayed in a gallery space. This brilliant new project will open its doors on Monday 6 November with the first task being for its new members to name their new art club.”

Other projects being developed include a potential new youth club in Kirkby Malzeard, as well as a junior snooker club and a junior heritage club in Masham.

Vicki is keen to visit groups that already have an active membership and is looking forward to meeting with Ripon Activity Project and Ripon ARK – two projects engaging young people and adults with special educational needs.

The Buddy Network is a young person’s befriending project in Ripon and across North Yorkshire. The aim is to support 14-19 year olds by helping them to gain confidence, meet their goals and reach independence. A volunteer buddy develops a relationship with a young person once that young person has ‘moved on’ from the support offered by the Prevention Service or Leaving Care Teams. Together, the buddy and young person develop a befriending agreement and identify goals.

They meet regularly for a period of approximately six months, with meetings following a simple framework to allow progression and reflection. There are currently over 20 trained buddies across Harrogate district, but Vicki says they are always looking for more!

If you’re interested in finding out more about any of the projects and services, Vicki would be pleased to hear from you on 07881 797716 or email

Connecting Ripon’s next meeting is on Wednesday 11 October at St Wilfrid’s Community Centre. Find out more at or call HARCVS on 01423 504074.