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Young Merton residents receive first aid certificates


In recognition of completing first aid training, 28 young people have been presented with certificates during a ceremony hosted by Uptown Youth Services, a Merton-based charity that receives funding from Clarion Futures, the charitable foundation of Clarion Housing Group.

With knife crime and violence affecting young people still a major concern across London, the training has been specially crafted to give young people the confidence to provide vital support to victims in an emergency situation and help to minimise the risk of fatalities.

During the training, the young people gained skills in many areas of lifesaving first aid, including how to stop bleeding, wound dressing and CPR, as well as exploring the impact of drugs and alcohol.

At the event, which took place last month at the Leyton Road Community Centre, the certificates were presented by Councillor Eleanor Stringer, the Joint Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Children and Education at Merton Council, who is a long-time supporter of Uptown Youth Services.

Councillor Stringer, said: “I really enjoyed meeting all the young people at Uptown to present them with their certificates. It was fabulous to hear about what they learned from the first aid course, but also to hear their feedback about the support Uptown provided to them during the pandemic.”

The ceremony was also attended by representatives from Clarion Futures and Hill, one of the contractors working with Clarion on the regeneration of several estates in Merton, who co-funded the first aid course.

Matt Parsonage, Head of Communities at Clarion Futures, said: “It’s been a tough time for us all during the pandemic, but young people have been particularly hard hit. We’re delighted to help fund Uptown Youth Services and know that the support they provide makes a real difference to local residents. The first aid training recently delivered could be lifesaving – congratulations to all the young people who have received their certificates.”

Uptown provides young people with a safe venue to meet with friends in a youth club environment and take part in various activities and workshops, including mentoring and making connections with positive role models, signposting to additional services, study and educational support and access to training and employment programmes.

Support during the pandemic

During the height of the pandemic, Uptown Youth Services shifted to online ‘Chill ‘n Chat’ rooms. As Covid-19 restrictions eased, Uptown was able to gradually move back to in-person sessions and has continued to adapt, providing support to young people and their families whilst complying with regulations and ensuring the safety of participants and staff.

In addition, the Merton Community Panel, which manages a budget provided by Clarion Futures dedicated to improving neighbourhoods in Merton, provided further financial support during the pandemic.

Joan Simms, CEO of Uptown Youth Services, said: “Many of our young people have had severe disruption to their education and suffered bereavement during the pandemic. Uptown are supporting them as they transition back to ‘normal life’ and seek to catch up educationally and in terms of social interactions and behaviours. We are very appreciative of all the support offered by the Merton Community Panel and Clarion Futures – and for enhancing the life skills of our young people through provision of the first aid training programme.”

Get involved

Uptown Youth Services run three-hour sessions three times a week (Wednesday and Friday evenings and Saturday afternoons) during term time from the Leyton Road Centre in Colliers Wood for 11 – 18-year-olds (or up to 25 for those with disabilities). They also offer a two-hour dance and drama focused sessions for 8 - 11-year-olds on Tuesday afternoon at the South Mitcham Community Centre.

Young Merton residents interested in attending any of the sessions are welcome to drop in, email or call Joan Simms on 07957 112 260.