Everyone involved in the youth club needs to know the boundaries within which it functions.
Discussing and agreeing policies on issues that are important to the youth club users right at the beginning of the project, will contribute greatly to the smooth running of the club.
The management committee should take the lead on this job but it is very important to involve as many young people as possible in the process, as the policies will have a direct impact on their use and enjoyment of the club.
It is important to remember that there are no right or wrong answers and that your policies should not discourage potential users from attending.
It is equally important to make sure that all of your policies are clearly communicated to and understood by all of the club's users and supporters; this makes them easy for everyone to follow and enforce when necessary.
Examples of Policy Areas Include:
- Eligibility – who is the youth club for? Remember to be as flexible as possible and to encourage access for those who wish to attend.
- Opening hours – members need to know when they can come and how long they can stay.
- Use of facilities – you may want to put time limits on the use of certain facilities such as computers or behaviour codes for certain areas such as the kitchen or quiet area.
- Alcohol – youth clubs provide an alcohol-free environment in which young people can socialise; the consequences of breaching this code need to be agreed and clearly communicated.
- Code of Conduct – many clubs have agreed behaviour standards that members sign up to on joining or entering the premises, and that young people themselves monitor. Again, the consequences of breaking these standards need to be clear.
- Legal policies – these include Child Protection, Health & Safety and Equal Opportunities. Having clear written policies for each of these areas is a great help in ensuring that you meet all the legal requirements and is likely to be a prerequisite of many funding applications. It is important that you understand and follow current guidelines regarding Safeguarding (refer to Information Sheet 6).
Step 4. Worksheet and things to do.