Youth Page

Teen Torridge is dead, long live the youth page

Hello, and welcome to ‘the youth page’- which we hope will be a hub of information for and about the young people of Bideford.

As before, the focus will be on young people, but we hope to make it readable for everyone.

If you have any news you’d like to share, or any views you’d like to express drop us an email- [email protected] (with the youth page in the subject line).

Visit the Bideford Buzz Facebook  page and become a friend of Buzz.


A ‘reassuring presence’ on the streets of Bideford

Since last year, the streets of Bideford on a Saturday night have had an additional patrol on the beat. But instead of an increase in police presence, a voluntary group- with no powers of arrest, no powers of stop and search and no disciplinary powers whatsoever- have been helping keep the peace- with surprising results.

Recognisable by their distinctive navy blue sweaters and baseball caps, the ‘Street Pastors’ of Bideford (part of a national initiative) have built up a friendly rapport with those enjoying the town’s nightlife.

I spoke to one of the team of twenty one Christian volunteers, who go out in groups of four every Saturday night between 10 and 4 (and on some one-off events, like Westward Ho!’s Potwalloping Festival). He told me that the purpose of their presence is to help anyone in need-  whether it’s administering  first aid to someone who’s  collapsed after consuming dangerous levels of alcohol and drugs, or simply giving some flip flops to someone who’s struggling to stumble home in a pair of stilettos. While they work in collaboration with the police and local authority (the teams have a radio link up with, and are sometimes asked to attend an incident before the police) they are independent, and manage themselves.

Recently, however, the Street Pastors have been able to provide more than simply practical help. The team member told me of an incident of a tense stand-off between two groups  outside one of the town’s clubs. The bouncers were trying to split them up, but were unable to, and the team was alerted to the situation. They arrived, and simply stood at a distance from the scene, not intervening in the situation at all. Remarkably, the situation was calmed within minutes and everyone went on their way.
Moreover, Saturday night crime in the town centre has reduced by more than 40% since last June- a figure partly attributed to their work, and a phenomenon that has led to much media attention, both locally and abroad. French newspaper Libération recently followed the group on their patrols.

But why volunteer to put themselves in such a potentially dangerous position?
“There are some needy kids in Bideford who find themselves in with the wrong crowd and into dangerous situations- and it’s often the case that there’s nobody else to help them.

And what does the future hold for the Street Pastors of Bideford? They are continuing to train up new Pastors, and re-training the current ones regularly. They are also in the process of setting up teams in Bude and Barnstaple.

More information on the team can be found at

Tom Collins


Your summer, your library

If you’re looking for something good to read while you’re sunbathing this summer, the library is at your service.

Thrillers, chick lit, sci-fi- whatever you’re into, we’ve got it– and it’s free! (Tip: check the best-sellers shelf for some of the latest and greatest reads.)

And if the weather’s not up to much, don’t forget we’ve also got a whole load of DVDs at shockingly low rental charges- including recent releases.

Membership is free, so what are you waiting for? Get down there, fool.

And if you’ve got some books to swap our next book swap evening is Thursday August  19th 5-7pm at Bideford Library  Bring some books to swap – cake included!


Wings- flying high in Bideford

Tucked away in the winding narrow street Lower Meddon street is the base of local youth charity ‘Wings’. This unassuming building is a hive of activity for the town’s young people- on Wednesday and Thursday evenings its doors are open for ‘The Source’- a youth club-cum-cyber cafe for years 7-8 (Thursday) and 9 upwards (Wednesday).

But it’s more than just a drop-in for kids. Since its inception ten years ago, Wings has grown considerably, and is now a large organisation catering for hundreds of young people in the area. Café nights are now more than just a place to chat to friends and check your emails.

“We formed a dance group, some nights there’s even a nail bar for the girls and there’s even a multimedia production suite” Sally Ellis, volunteer and recruitment manager told me. “We listen to what our young people want, and try to provide it.”

Beyond that, Wings has created courses for 16-24 year olds who are out of work, including in mechanics and construction, based at a renovated barn in Abbotsham. Many of the courses are accredited, but Sally told me it’s not just about practical skills.
“All of the courses include the development of life skills, as these are often just as important.”
Previous projects have involved environmental conservation, including one project which involved over a hundred people planting trees. “We try to listen to the needs of the community,” she said.
So what drives the staff at Wings? The founding members of staff are a group of local Christians, who responded to a request for a place for young people to meet. Their website states that Torridge is one of the most deprived areas in the region, but Sally is optimistic.
“Wings is all about giving young people a hope and future,” she said. “And that is at the heart of everything we do.”
Looking ahead to the summer, Wings has several events going on, including screenings of World Cup matches at the café. Year 6 students are invited to Bideford College on 26th July to find out what Wings has in store for the summer.
What’s more, eight of the staff are attempting to swim the Channel in July to raise money for the charity. To donate, visit .

For more information about Wings, you can contact them on 01237 472000.

A short film about their practical courses is also available.

Tom Collins

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.