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Article supplied by Roger Knight, presented by Margaret Craddock

Children's and Youth Council

Work with Children and Young People

In the 1970s and 1980s there was significant organisation of holiday clubs and youth clubs by Mrs June Rowland, who was a Learning Support Assistant (to use the latest job definition in 2008) at Meadowside Infants School.

The initiative was taken to set up a Burton Latimer Children’s and Youth Council in 1971 to provide games and other activities during the long summer holiday from school. It was in the early days of town-wide provision of this sort and grants and other support from local authorities was yet to be available. There was, for example, a flat refusal from the County Council P.E. adviser to a request to borrow games equipment from local schools closed for the summer holidays. Fortunately the person making the request was the Head Teacher of a school nearby and so was able to borrow bats and balls from his school. The holiday club functioned for several days at the Recreation Ground and concluded with a much publicised football match between the children and parents and helpers.

The Children’s and Youth Council was made up of anyone in the town who was willing to encourage and help with voluntary work serving young people. The first Chairman was Roger Knight and the Secretary was Kate Coles.   

The arrival in Burton Latimer of June Rowland ensured the development of this work over a number of years. She immediately got involved as an enthusiastic, competent and well-organised voluntary Play Leader over the next 12 years with help over four years from Sheila Timpson. In addition to the summer play schemes, a youth club was set up using the old hall in the recreation ground, the Preston Hall and finally the Scout Headquarters. Film shows were arranged for children in the former cinema, nine town galas were entered and money was raised to provide small educational grants and other social needs connected with the town’s children. County Councillor Albert Morby introduced June to different committees who could provide grants.  Others involved in this work were Derek Taylor, the Baptist Minister, who acted as Secretary and Councillor Nicholas Loake, a Town and Borough Councillor, who also helped secure some grants from local government to support the efforts made by Mrs Rowlands and her helpers. June even managed to obtain private sponsorship of the effort from her father’s business.

It is worth recording this example of good community life which also had some effect in two other towns. In 1973 Roger Knight was invited to address a group in Rothwell that was setting up a similar youth scheme under the auspices of the local churches and in the hey days of the Burton Latimer holiday club, the leaders having run their own activities throughout the week on a fortnightly basis, then went to Corby to help out there.        

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