Youths put skills to the test for festive events
Staff and visitors to Wigan Youth Zone have certainly been getting into the Christmas spirit.
The centre has a jam-packed seasonal calender, filled with festive delights for children of all ages as well as adults.
The festivities have already kicked off with the centre’s monthly inclusion night, Pulse, adopting a Christmas-theme.
Today, Saturday, the centre will host Christmas parties for its junior and senior members and tomorrow is its first Christmas fair, followed by a festive lunch for vulnerable children and their families.
The fair will see young members selling their own designs and creations as well as roasted chestnuts, non-alcoholic mulled wine, cakes they have baked and handmade Christmas crafts and decorations.
Genna Banks, mentoring co-ordinator and safeguarding, is responsible for organising the two events on Sunday.
She said: “ We’ve invited all the families who are coming to the meal to the fair as well so they can come and have a look.
“It is a good opportunity for families who don’t access our centre everyday, it is good for them to see it and for their young people to see it.
“We have also got the girls room open so someone is doing hair, make-up and nails all Christmas-themed and there will be face-painting as well, plus tombolas and raffles. We’ve also got a music stage all set up with Merry-oke and different family fun games.
“The activities aren’t just for kids, they are for the whole family and we have a few under five games like pass the parcel just for the little ones.”
After the fair, the lunch will be held for 160 young people and their families.
“There is a right mixed bag, families who have had a tough year from having children with severe additional needs to people who can’t afford a nice Christmas or people who have suffered bereavement,” Genna said.
“It is a massive relief for some parents and carers that the young people will get that nice Christmas Day that they might not be able to at home.”
As well as the lunch, each child gets a present and their parents a hamper filled with treats for Christmas Day which have all been donated by patrons of the youth zone or by members of the public.
Not only will young people be selling items at the fair on Sunday, some will be selling their own designs.
The enterprise team has been working with youngsters to create Christmas cards and plates that they have been selling at the youth zone and at other markets.
The six winning Christmas card designs were chosen by members of the youth zone and have now been printed ready to sell .
The enterprise team has also been busy creating a number of plate designs which can be personalised.
Greg Wynter, session leader and employability youth worker, said: “The cards are being sold at different market events, to the patrons and across the youth zone.
“We also have our Christmas plates, we have standard plates with designs done by young people but we can also personalise them for you so you can add mum, dad, names, brothers and sisters things like that onto there.
“It is all about the entrepreneurial side as well as the creative and fun side of things and going through the process.
“Because it was a competition and you’ve got the winners and these guys are really proud to have won.
“But the entrepreneurial side means they are selling them and learning about the money and the business side as well. It is a good educational process but fun at the same time.”
The cards and plates will be on sale from at the fair on Sunday or can be bought by popping into the youth zone. The cards are £2 for six and the plates are £5 or £6 if they are personalised.