Clubs for Young People

Clubs for Young People
Clubs for Young People
Abbreviation CYP
Formation 1925
Legal status Charity
Headquarters London
Location United Kingdom
Region served England
Volunteers 30,000

Clubs for Young People (formerly known as the National Association of Boys' Clubs) is a national network of over 3,000 voluntary youth clubs, youth groups and projects across the United Kingdom, helping close to half a million young people each year. It was founded in 1925 and is a registered charity.[1]


Purpose and Charitable Objective

The aim of Clubs for Young People is to be the leading voluntary youth organisation in the UK promoting the involvement, enjoyment and achievement of all young people.

They see their purpose as being to help young people through:

• Creating the opportunity to have fun, learn, and reach their potential

• Supporting clubs to develop and improve

According to the Charity Commission their charitable objective is “to promote the development of boys and young men and girls and young women in achieving their full physical, intellectual, social and spiritual potential by the establishment and development of clubs.”[2]

Network Structure

Clubs for Young People’s network consists of community based member youth clubs (who work with young people directly), city and county organisations who provide locally tailored support to youth clubs and projects on a daily basis, and their national office, which as well as providing national representation, advocacy and resources, offers specialist capacity-building through regional teams. Their regional teams are split into three geographical areas, northern, central and southern England. Working within Clubs for Young People’s network are an estimated 30,000 volunteers working within 3,500 youth clubs helping over 400,000 young people.[3]

Projects supporting the development of young people

Clubs for Young People invest in and support the personal and social development of young people in various ways and with various projects and initiatives.

Do Something – A National Programme of Events and Activities

Clubs for Young People’s annual Do Something programme brings together young people from across the UK and their clubs to take part in a range of events. The programme gives young people the opportunity to progress from taking part in activities at their local clubs, to regional and then national events, making the activities a great challenge and learning experience. For young people interested in sport, there are several events, including boxing, netball, canoeing, and football. On the creative side, there are art competitions, including Off the Wall, which gives young people the chance to showcase art through graffiti in and around their club building, and a national photography competition.

Clubs for Young People was involved in a partnership project with volunteering charity 'v', MTV and youth engagement agency TomTom nation. The project was set up to get young people involved in making films about issues that are important to them and to make a positive difference in their communities, learning new skills in the process.

The project was launched in March 2008, with over 1,000 youth clubs taking part. More than 2,000 volunteer youth club leaders were professionally trained to run film making and editing activities in their clubs. All the youth clubs taking were given iMacs and use iMovie '09 film editing software.[4]

Leadership Training

Clubs for Young People run an accredited leadership training scheme for young people between the ages of 16 and 21. This leadership training aims to enable young volunteers to take a more active role as a club or activity leader, providing them with the skills and knowledge to progress further. Their Leadership training is divided into two stages. The first stage is known as the Area Leadership training and takes place in their local geographical area. Those who complete the first stage are then invited to participate in the National stage of the training. The training is designed to provide the platform for developing the skills and knowledge needed to progress in club based youth work.[5]

Developing and improving youth clubs

Clubs for Young People provide training, information and support to their county and city organisations as well as directly to clubs with the aim of improving the services they provide to young people and the community. To do this they provide various forms of training to ensure that staff and volunteers provide the best they possible can. Clubs for Young People also facilitate Youth Work Academies. These bring together county and city organisations across regions to share good practice, expertise, skills and resources. The Academies also provide a link between central government initiatives and policies and what this means locally for youth clubs. At the same time they aim to support their city and county organisations with guidance and information on club issues, including policies and procedures, governance, insurance, and quality assurance. Through their regional and national events, newsletter and website Clubs for Young People contribute to connecting their members and youth clubs together.

Influencing Policy Affecting Young People and Youth Clubs

Clubs for Young People aim to ensure that issues important to young people and youth clubs are addressed. To do this they meet with key ministers, politicians and civil servants to raise issues and influence policy while also responding to government consultations. Clubs for Young People also form statutory and voluntary sector partnerships, locally and nationally, in order to improve support to young people through youth clubs. Working with professional associations and organisations concerned with standards and best practice, while also working with young people and their members, allows them to bring expertise and direct experiences to the attention of decision makers.

Coalition for Young People

Clubs for Young People are a founding member of the Coalition for Young People, a group of children’s charities campaigning for the empowerment, entitlement and equality of all young people.[6] Other members of the coalition are UKYouth, 4Children, the National Youth Agency, the National Children's Bureau, the National Council for Voluntary Youth Services and the UK Youth Parliament.

Somewhere to belong…A Blueprint for 21st Century Youth Clubs

In 2009 Clubs for Young People launched Somewhere to Belong – a Blueprint for 21st Century Youth Clubs. The report is an overview of the everyday experiences of youth clubs and an aspirational blueprint, both for the development of a great club, and how this is best supported.


Clubs for Young People (CYP) was founded on 24 October 1925 as the National Association of Boys’ Clubs (NABC) in order to consolidate the Boys’ and Lads’ Club movement which had been growing steadily since the latter quarter of the 19th century.[7] At the time the vast majority of boys left formal education at the age of 14 and began life in employment. To many boys the street was the only place available to socialise once they had finished work, which became seen as a social problem. The boys’ club movement therefore aimed to provide these working class boys with a place to socialise and have access to positive activities in their leisure time.[8]

Once founded the NABC grew rapidly, within a year five local federations were affiliated bringing 262 Boys’ clubs with them while an additional thirty-three clubs were affiliated directly with the NABC. By 1928 fifteen local federations with 715 clubs had affiliated with 71 further clubs joining directly and by 1930 17 federations were affiliated and 944 clubs, 107 of which were directly. More than half of the federations which were affiliated by 1930 had not previously existed, showing the growing realisation that it was beneficial for Boys’ clubs to form links and possess a central administrative body.[9]

At the 1930 NABC conference the Principles and Aims of the Boys Club Movement was accepted by the organisation as the official doctrine of the Boys’ Club movement and popularly became known as “the NABC Bible”. The document was significant as it set out the purpose, programme, policy and philosophy of the National Association, the movement now possessed a distinct national objective.[10]

Despite numerous obstacles the National Association of Boys’ Club continued strongly through the Second World War and contributed towards the war effort. The undoubted difficulties faced by boys’ Clubs during the war meant that many had to alter the practices and the activities which they provided. Many took the opportunity to help the war effort with new activities such as cultivating fallow ground, providing canteens for local soldiers, digging shelters and helping evacuated school children. Many youth clubs opened their premises as makeshift schools during the day. Boys Clubs’ also helped children evacuated from the cities during the war to settle in to their new homes and make friends, playing a vital role in moral on the home front.[11]

In 1992 the National Association of Boys’ Clubs officially changed its name to NABC-Clubs for Young People in order to reflect that associated clubs were no longer single sex. In 1999 this was changed again to simply the National Association of Clubs for Young People. In 2005 the charity was rebranded as Clubs for Young People though the official name of the charity remains the National Association of Clubs for Young People.[12]

Notable People Associated with Clubs for Young People

There have been a vast number of notable figures associated with Clubs for Young People since formation as the NACB to now, whether as club members, leaders, supporters or those assisting in promotional aspects of the charity.

HRH Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester - Became president of the NABC a year into its life in 1926. The Duke was not merely a figurehead to the charity but was active and untiring in his work for clubs.

HRH Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester – Prince Henry’s son who has been Clubs for Young People President since his father’s death in 1974.

Clement Attlee – Was a youth club leader in the East End of London for fourteen years before going into politics. Following his political retirement Attlee became a vice-President of the NABC and remained an active supporter throughout his life.[13][14]

Frankie Vaughan - Vaughn was a member of the Lancaster Lads’ Club in his youth and throughout his life and career was an enthusiastic supporter of the NABC, visiting clubs around the country and donating the proceeds from one of his songs every year.[15]

Roger Bannister – The first man to run a mile in under four minutes was an active NABC supporter and used his medical expertise as chairman of an NABC technical panel advising on physical recreation and health.

A number of sports men and women were in their youth members of clubs affiliated to Clubs for Young People including: Jason Robinson, Ellen MacArthur, Alan Shearer, Amir Kahn, Peter Beardsley, Steve Bruce and Michael Carrick.[16][17]


  1. ^ Clubs for Young People, Registered Charity no. 306065 at the Charity Commission
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ p. 30.
  6. ^
  7. ^ “History of the Boys’ Club Movement’ from The Boy – A Magazine Devoted to the Welfare of Boys, Vol. XII. No. 3, London, 1939.
  8. ^ Principles and Aims of the Boys’ Club Movement, London, 1930.
  9. ^ Eagar, W.McG, Making Men – The History of Boys’ Clubs and Related Movements in Great Britain, London, 1953.
  10. ^ Eagar, Making Men.
  11. ^ National Association of Boys’ Clubs Annual Report 1945-7, London, 1947.
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^ National Association of Boys’ Clubs Annual Report 1956-7, London, 1957
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^ p. 55.

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