Places: The Gibraltar Youth Centre

Places: The Gibraltar Youth Centre

A place for everyone and anyone

Youth Services in Gibraltar have been running since the 60s’, adapting and changing throughout the decades to ever meet the needs of young people. There are four youth clubs: Dolphin’s, Plater, Laguna (now at St. Theresa’s Hall), and the Youth Centre at Line Wall Road where the PANORAMA conducted this interview with Caroline Dixon. Each youth club is managed and staffed by paid employees alongside a staff of 25 part time support workers.

“All the fulltime workers have got a degree in Youth Work, and the part time staff all have to go through an introduction to youth work which is a 6 month training course that is run by us” she said. “They do some theory and practical work and put together a portfolio at the end of 6 months and then that gets assessed”.

The Gibraltar Youth Services are, in a word, phenomenal. “I think some people have a perception that the Youth Service is tailor made for young people who have nothing to do and that are hanging out on the streets. The Youth Service is made for ALL young people”. With projects ranging from outdoor activities, educational programmes, charity fundraising, and overseas trips to the UK, Poland and Amsterdam; the Youth Service here in Gibraltar is a font of extraordinary and boundless creativity, learning, and communal activity.

Projects of theirs are varied in both content and ingenuity. They have brought in photographers on a photography session for Globe magazine (we were shown the end result with breast cancer survivors, dressed glamorously and on the front cover); they work on a garden outside the Youth Centre, teaching botany practises and responsibilities; and a project working with young people with disabilities. “You have to make everything interesting, fun, and relevant to their needs because learning has got to be interesting for them”. Every Christmas and Easter they would “go up to the adult day care centres and sing songs out to them. We get the stories from the elderly about the patio games. We did a big feature last year on ‘let’s bring back the patio games, let’s bring people outside doing some physical things’”. Just recently before Covid, they were “looking at doing an exchange with the Youth Service in Northern Ireland and that was going to be done with students from the college”.

These are just a handful examples from a whole variety and scope of incredible projects for young people to participate in. “They are the future; they are the next generation. So we need to invest in young people and we need to give them the skills that they need to be able to go out into that world, fully equipped and contribute positively”.