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Operation Elf Blyth

Operation Elf, Blyth

Team Operation Elf, Blyth would like to thank the following people who have helped us move today to our new, albeit temporary home at the Port of Blyth and Port Training Services.

Thank you so much everyone at the Port for your constant help with community projects.

From our old home at the Buffalo Community Centre, without whom it would have been impossible to help the community as much as we did last Christmas.

Today’s move wouldn’t have been possible without the generosity of Richardson’s Amusements providing the manpower and the transport, Warren Taylor Mayor of Blyth Town Council Cllr Stanger for packing boxes, and the voluntary help from the Operation Elf Blyth team. You are all fabulous thank you for everything you have done and continue to do.

Operation Elf, Blyth Christmas Donations

Accolade for Buffalo Centre Trustees

Accolade for Buffalo Centre Trustees

 © Michelle Mercer Photography – Dale Cartie receiving Trustee of the Year Award on behalf of Foster Burt

There was high praise for Foster Burt and Margaret ‘Penny’ Bennett at the North East Youth ‘Projects for Pride’ awards in early June after receiving honours for their voluntary service.

Foster Burt, who has been at the Buffalo Community Centre (aka Cowpen Quay Community Association) since it opened way back in 1974, received the ‘Trustee of the Year’ award along with the Platinum Award for 40 years voluntary service at the community centre.

Foster started at the original Buffalo Community Centre, which was based in the old St John’s Mission Church (in the Cowpen Quay).  St John’s Mission Church was in a really bad state of repair and in 1976 the centre moved to where it is today, on Regent Street.   Foster was based at the Buffalo Community Centre with the Probation Service with the lads on community helping out to ensure the building was kept in good repair, caretaking and cleaning of the building. 

After retiring from the probation service Foster remained devoted to the charity and became a trustee. To this day Foster remains totally committed to the Buffalo Community Centre.

Current manager of the centre, Eileen Cartie said “Foster has been a massive part of the centre right from the onset and has a variety of experience working with a wide range of people” and added “during my time at the Buffalo, Foster is the person I totally trust, have learnt a lot from, been a fab boss and a person many people aspire to be like.”

Margaret ‘Peggy’ Bennett, 91 also received the Platinum Award for 40 years service adding to her Red Cross volunteer award.  Peggy used to run a group at the centre but now takes a back seat from day-to-day activities, instead becoming a valuable member of the group of trustees.  

Eileen said of Peggy “She is a stalwart of the centre, remains a committed manager and continues to work hard for the centre and the local community”.

© Michelle Mercer Photography – Margaret ‘Penny’ Beckett (centre) receiving Platinum Award

Buffalo Youth Project success stories – Jo’s Journey

Buffalo Youth Project success stories – Jo’s Journey

The Buffalo Youth Projects or Youth Groups has been running here at the Buffalo Community Centre before 2006, but re-established itself since then and has had some fantastic success stories.   Let’s start with a regular face around the centre and especially within the Buffalo Youth Projects, Jo.

Jo (now one of the Buffalo Centre’s senior youth workers) started volunteering at the Buffalo from the age of 15 when she attended a course, a level one introduction to youth work.  Her school found her a placement at the Buffalo Community Centre and that was the start of Jo’s journey. 

 Jo says “I was very shy at first and didn’t really know what to do as I was around about the same age as the young people, so I didn’t feel like I had much authority.”

After her placement Jo volunteered at the Buffalo for 6 years helping out with the youth club sessions and also volunteering in the centre.  Jo states “I was gaining more and more confidence as time went on.”

At the age of 22 Jo applied for an upcoming job for a youth worker at the centre.  She put in for the job, had an interview with the manager and landed the job. This gave Jo me more confidence as she felt like she was doing a good job.  During this time Jo was also at college doing childcare and education, before going on to University to do a level 4 in early years.

In 2013 Jo took the opportunity to do a level 3 course in Youth Work.  She was very excited about starting as it was a fantastic course and Jo really felt like she was learning more and more which could then be applied to her job.  Jo passed all of the modules and is proud that she didn’t have to resubmit any of them.

One of the youth workers left in 2015 to start a family, which allowed Jo to do more and more for the youth projects such as planning sessions, funding applications, setting curriculums for youth work, attending meetings and building networks.  Since then Jo has taken on the lead role as a senior youth leader.  Jo says:

“I love my job and I’m always wanting to better myself. There is always more to learn and I am enjoying this journey, not only as a youth worker but I also care about the centre and its future.  I really hope to be a valued member of the community in the future.  The centre is part of me and part of my heart. I put 110% into what I do as I love what I do. “

Jo has gone from strength to strength from a shy 15 year old to establishing herself as one of the key members of the Buffalo Community Centre and the Buffalo Youth Group.   A great success story for the centre and the Buffalo Youth Groups.

Buffalo Youth Projects have sessions running on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings. For more information click here to visit our What’s On page www.buffalocommunitycentre.co.uk/whats-on