An award winning after school club for teenage lads is expanding to a second venue.
Boys in Blue was set up by PCSO Lindsey Blackburn in conjunction with staff at Middlesbrough’s Unity City Academy (UCA) and MFC Foundation to support the teens’ mental health and offer a safe space to relax, hear guest speakers and talk.
Last year the club won the Health and Wellbeing category of the national AET (Academies Enterprise Trust) Remarkable Lives competition and, due to the pandemic, Lindsey and some of the group took part in a virtual celebration event.
Lindsey has worked with Community Ventures in Thorntree to set up a new Boys in Blue after school and holiday club there. It will be officially opened by Deputy Chief Constable Helen McMillan on Thursday (3rd June).
And local gym owner and mental health champion, Mike Hind MBE, will be the very first guest speaker.
DCC McMillan said: “Our officers and staff work very hard in our communities to engage with local young people to support them as they navigate their teenage years.
“I’d like to thank Lindsey for all her enthusiasm, commitment and hard work and I’m confident we’ll see this new Boys in Blue club replicate the success we’ve seen elsewhere. Our younger residents are very lucky to have her as their champion!”
Lindsey added: “I’d like to thank Community Ventures for getting on board with Boys in Blue - our experience has been that the boys realise there’s no stigma attached to mental health issues and they tend to open up when they’re in an informal, safe and familiar setting.
“And it’s my pleasure to welcome Mike as our very first guest speaker. I’m sure the lads will find what he has to say interesting, informative and inspiring!”
And Rachel Gault, Operations Manager for Community Ventures said “We’re so grateful for Lindsey’s support in starting the Boys in Blue project here. This is a fantastic opportunity for young teens in Thorntree to come together and have fun, with the added benefit of having a safe place to talk about any issues they may be facing.”