CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Castlehaven launches new youth service

'It shouldn’t just be PlayStation all day and every day'

02 November, 2018 — By Tom Foot

Youtuber Amelia Dimoldenberg joins the team at the Castlehaven Community Association

A COMMUNITY centre in the heart of Camden Town relaunched this week with a new youth team and celebrity guests.

The Castlehaven Community Association unveiled its revamped Castle Youth Project on Tuesday evening and a range of new activities including street dancing, reggae aerobics, movie nights, quizzes, pamper sessions and jewellery making.

The X-Factor’s J-Sol and YouTube star Amelia Dimoldenberg took questions from youth workers in front of a room full of children. One of the main changes at the centre in Castlehaven Road is separate sessions for 11- to 15-year-olds, and 16- to 19-year-olds – a new set-up that parents said had already had a big impact.

New manager Collette Benson-Oniha said: “I think that everyone benefits from having something that is according to their age. And for me what is important is that you have sessions that are planned. But also that there is still an open session where people can do what they want – but it shouldn’t just be PlayStation all day and every day. The thing is not to force it on them but to have it there, so if people just want to go and play some pool upstairs they can do that – but downstairs all these things will be going on. There will be detached youth work too.”

Ms Benson-Oniha has come to Camden after running youth centres in Newham and Forest Gate. Parents at the launch said they were impressed with the new set-up, saying they felt safer. Niha, 18, who lives in Camden Town, said: “I used to attend Castlehaven then stopped but I’m happy it’s been relaunched. It’s been fun and I can’t wait to attend regularly.”

Castlehaven also has a new website. To find out more visit www.castleyouth.org

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