In partnership with many services and local community members based in Riverside, the initiative to develop a learning centre was led by the Bangladesh Executive Committee. With a small tackling poverty grant from Welsh Government and support from Cardiff University students and Cardiff Youth Service, the co-produced Riverside Learning Club was established six months ago.
With a strong emphasis on addressing some of the social barriers that poverty and ethnicity can have on educational attainment, the learning club has prioritised listening to the needs of the children and young people. Issues such as belonging, confidence and deficits in cultural capital amongst learners are issues considered along side academic support with homework needs.
We have engaged a range of visitors to the club, such as African drumming, Youth Service Duke of Edinburgh scheme and Artistic projects that have aimed to strengthen a sense of identity and place. The principle of community ownership has underpinned the development of the learning centre and has aimed to empower the learners and community leaders to actively become involved in their education. Based on the principles of public service, we have aimed to create an atmosphere of kindness, care and respect for others in the club. We believe that this has created the space for children and young people to carry out additional forms of learning that serves to compliment the formal learning they carry out at school.
For many of these children and young people, attending this learning club is the only opportunity they are permitted to be out of the house without their parents. We have established links with the local Youth Service provider in order to further develop these opportunities. Establishing the centre has aimed to serve as a catalyst to strengthen the links between communities and schools, empower the community, provide formal support with academic work, strengthen identity for children of ethnicity living in Wales and develop the next generation of community leaders.
Cllr Cecilia Love