Ledley Hall Boys and Girls Club is a youth centre based in Inner East Belfast, operating in the community since 1942 we have very strong links and are in the privileged position of delivering youth services to young people aged 5-25 years. The young people choose to come to us and it is this voluntary participation at the heart of youth work practice which makes the interventions we make with our young people and the relationships that we have unique to those with other professionals.
Over the last seven years we have made significant investment in our work to be actively inclusive, identifying the need to become trained in Makaton to ensure effective communication and inclusion of all of our membership. We are now in the fortunate position where all of our staff are trained to level 4 in Makaton as well as some of our volunteer team and parents. We have regular refreshers with our Makaton tutor Grant to keep us up to date.
We have purchased the Makaton Vocabulary CD’s which allow us to produce signage etc for around the centre. We operate sign and symbol of the week which is headed up by our Makaton Champion, we also have signage around the centre in Makaton, our safeguarding materials are displayed in a Makaton and easy read format and our Youth Worker in Charge has completed the Makaton Safeguarding Workshop. We not only use Makaton as a way of communicating with and providing an inclusive environment for Makaton users but we have also used Makaton to help develop the communication of our junior members through the use of songs, rhymes and at one point we had a Makaton choir.
Our plans for the incoming year are to work both on our own inclusion projects but also to work with our Makaton Tutor Grant Wetherall to share our knowledge and experience of developing the use of Makaton within the youth centre to others that Grant has recently trained by hosting them at our centre and showcasing the work that we do.