People, policies and structure

Rationale behind the Gillingham Youth Collective

The pandemic has caused many, many young people to miss out on natural opportunities to grow and develop. The Gillingham Youth Collective aims to change that by putting young people at the heart of the decision-making, giving young people in Gillingham, Dorset, a direct say in the shape and format of an annual programme of workshops, masterclasses and activities, culminating in a one-day festival. 

Set up as a partnership between two well-established Dorset organisations, the Rendezvous and Gillingham Youth Club, and funded by the National Lottery Community Fund it is an exciting five-year project in which we hope to involve more community partners as we progress.

By working collaboratively we can achieve more for young people in the north Dorset area.

What it will offer

Every year for five years there will be a new programme of activities with opportunities to develop soft skills, social networks, leadership and confidence – things that so many weren’t able to do during the ‘lost years’ of the Coronavirus pandemic. 

Finding out what young people really want to do will be key to the project’s success. To do this a team of Trainee Media Makers (14-19) will work with industry professionals to use video, questionnaires, and social media to consult, record, promote and celebrate the programme, whilst gaining experience and building their portfolio. 

Meanwhile, in parallel, a Young Leaders programme (Year 9 and above) will develop their leadership skills to become role models for the young people who attend our Year 6 and 7 club who themselves will be encouraged to progress into other areas of the programme as they progress.

And every summer we will hold a one day event that we hope will become an annual feature lasting beyond the end of the project. 

The challenges

Along the way there will be some difficult decisions to be made by the young people who will sit on the steering group – how can the project be truly inclusive and deliver a programme that really does have something for everyone and that includes young people of every age?  How do you balance the needs and interests of the many against the few?  We don’t know yet but we are sure young people will have an idea. Through our model of co-production we plan to let them have their say and increasingly enable them to take on the organisation of the programme, with the help of a part-time young project administrator. 

The Steering Group – the steering group makes the decision and is made up of representatives from the Rendezvous and Gillingham Youth Club who are joined by participants from the Media-Makers and Young Leaders programme plus other young people recruited from the community.

Safeguarding – safeguarding the welfare of children and vulnerable young people and adults is paramount and you can be confident that all project staff and volunteers have gone through the appropriate background checks. Each organisation has the appropriate policies and procedures in place and designated safeguarding leads.

About the Gillingham Youth Collective partners

The Rendezvous is a Dorset charity with a 25-year long history of working with young people (13-25). We offer one-to-one mental health and wellbeing support, English and Maths qualifications, young parents support groups and home visits, special projects and outreach programmes. Based in Sherborne, we have been working in Gillingham since 2017 initially with an outreach programme (funded by Gillingham Town Council) and since 2019 the Gillingham Young Parents Support Project which runs on Thursdays.
Address: Under Cheap Street Church, Cheap Street, Sherborne, Dorset DT9 3BJ
Charity no 1162722

Gillingham Youth Club was relaunched in 2019.  Youth Club sessions for years 6 and 7 run on Thursdays, 6.30-8.30pm, offering arts and crafts, cooking, sports, the opportunity to chill out with friends, play pool or air hockey and Sports Nights on Tuesdays for Year 6 and above and a Wednesday night club night for Year 8 and above, 7pm – 9pm.
Address:  Gillingham Youth & Community Centre, Cemetery Rd, Gillingham SP8 4AZ.

Community involvement

Are you a community group working with young people? Are you an artist leading workshops in the community? Are you interested in running sessions as part of the programme of activities? If so, then please get in touch for a chat.


This project is entirely funded by the National Lottery Community Fund.


The Rendezvous and Gillingham Youth Club both hold the policies and procedures needed to work safely with young people including policies for Safeguarding and Equality, Diversity and Inclusion. All staff and volunteers are recruited following safer recruitment guidelines and go through background checks.

The Rendezvous is the lead organisation for the Gillingham Youth Collective and our key policies are here: