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At the heart of Zac’s is a youth ran non-alcoholic bar, encouraging young people to gain financial, literacy, business and enterprise skills. The youth bars are centres which provide a safe, secure and friendly environment with access to affordable food and drink and a chance to participate in various character building activities. Free hot meals and snacks are available on some sessions with entry being completely free—so no young person is excluded on the grounds of affordability.
Each week young people are given the opportunity to participate in personal development activities covering issues such as employability, health, fitness and wellbeing, crime and consequences, personal goal setting, and positive decision making. These are complimented by one to one mentoring sessions with positive role models made up of youth workers, local business leaders and volunteers from various sectors/careers.
Opportunities to taste and develop new skills/interests are given via taster workshops, with the most popular activities being put into a regular programme. Skills include Drama, DJ/rap, Arts and craft, sports, street dance, and healthy cooking. When appropriate these enable young people to work towards accredited qualifications, arts awards, and showcase their newly acquired skills in our club nights/events and in some cases get extra support to develop their skills into potential business/career plan ideas.
We strive to work in areas where young people don’t already have access to a centre. Therefore, our outreach & detached youth work is incredibly important in enabling us to work with hard to reach young people or those who may be at risk.
Every Friday night we give young people the opportunity to train alongside professional DJ’s and/or run a non-alcoholic bar, complete with healthy mocktails. These club nights attract between 40-80 young people experiencing a safe, alcohol/drug free club night experience, with access to support, information and advice services if required. Young People are also supported in organising and running fundraising events/activities throughout the year, building on the interests and skills developed through participation in Zac’s.
Life Development spans through all of our activities, with youth workers, facilitators, and volunteers encouraged to promote discussions and shape activities around relevant themes, which challenge and promote change within the lives of the young people. Issues which are often at the forefront of activities include education, employment prospects, drugs/alcohol education, crime and consequences, and healthy living. This enables young people to build trust with positive adult role models, whilst also being encouraged to think, take action, and move on where they need to. This also shapes the programme as it enables us to develop a programme which responds to the needs of the participants.
We believe young people (and young adults) with special needs deserve the same respect and quality activities as all young people. Subsequently, inclusion is a significant theme across our programme of activities. Nevertheless, we acknowledge special support and tailored provision is necessary and we deliver this through Zac’s Teens.
The weekly “Zac’s Teens” night -specifically for those with special needs – includes elements of the whole Zac’s experience based on the needs of those attending. Young People without special needs are encouraged to volunteer and become mentors in order to encourage understanding and mutual support.
The Sycamore Project works in partnership with St John’s Church to fund a Youth Worker dedicated to increasing our work with local schools. We are currently running a variety of sessions in five local schools across Bolton.
On the first Thursday of every month Zac’s hosts a monthly networking breakfast open to businesses looking to support the charity. Business representatives are provided with a Full English Breakfast (sponsored by Brakes), an opportunity to network and a chance to hear the latest news at Zac’s. We value the businesses who form part of the local community and acknowledge that by working with them we can create a better future for our young people.