RECLAIM - East Bolton Boys
In November 2009 the RECLAIM East Bolton project started with an initial four day conference held at Bolton University, The Octagon Theatre and the Barlow Park Play Centre in the centre of Bolton. This was the first RECLAIM project held outside of Manchester and the activities took place mainly within Bolton. The mentors were all local Boltonians or from the North West. The RECLAIM East Bolton project worked with 25 Year 9 boys from and around East Bolton and was led by the agenda of those young people and the issues they would like to focus on.
The boys that we worked with in Bolton spoke with pride about being from Bolton, most supported their local football team and imagined growing up in the town. However, all expressed some level of disappointment at the low levels of positive male role models in their area and the fact that there were some problems with cohesion between white and Asian youths in some areas.
Working outside Manchester for the first time provided several challenges for the team and also working through a pretty cold and brutal winter demanded real commitment from the boys and their mentors! The boys produced a fine Manifesto and proudly distributed it across Bolton and presented it to the mayor. The boys were brilliant in getting involved in a number of activities over the duration of their project; from providing brilliant artwork for Bolton train station to travelling over to Bradford to one of the finest curry houses in the country!
"I believe projects such as RECLAIM promote the positive impact young people can have within a community. All too often teenagers are viewed as nothing more than vandals and thugs. Through projects such as RECLAIM young people are presented in a positive light through their own actions and decisions."
Dean Bailey, (mentor)
"RECLAIM is fun and I've learnt that our communities need to give young people a chance and don't judge them just because they are wearing a hoodie!"
Ed Carragher, 14 (mentee)