BYC was founded over a hundred years ago when ex-pupils of Belvedere College set up a club to provide warmth and refuge for some of the poorest boys in the city. It was originally called the Belvedere Newsboys’ Club, as the membership was largely composed of young boys supplementing the family income by selling newspapers on street corners or in public houses.
Many things have changed since 1918, but not, sadly, the need for a safe space where north inner city young people can come to access support. BYC is the only organisation offering services to members aged between seven and ten, and the leading organisation delivering to members aged between ten and twenty. As a permanent fixture in the community, BYC has been trusted by local families for generations.
In this area, young people are exposed on a daily basis to street violence, drug and alcohol misuse, and drug dealing. The instance of single-parent households is twice the city average. Social exclusion and unemployment levels are high. Anti-social behaviour and skipping school become common in this socio-economic environment.
Open, inclusive, and free
Any young person in the area between the ages of seven and twenty-five can access our services, and there are no fees payable.
Our mission is to help members develop their confidence and start to determine their own futures through educational, personal, and career development. Turning away from self-destructive patterns and deciding to take control of one’s life is an incredibly hard choice and requires support from people who understand the journey and are trained in youth work.
We are very proud that many ex-BYC members come back as adults to contribute as volunteers, board members, fundraisers, and employees. Our Team Leader, Jonathan Dowling, attended BYC and has seen his life take a very different path to that of his peers.
A rite of passage for local families
Because we have existed for over a century, membership of BYC has become a rite of passage for many local families – today’s members may be the grandchildren or great-grandchildren of our ‘old boys’.
BYC is a space to develop new skills, a vehicle for self-discovery, a place to make friends for life.
As members of our drama club wrote in one of their songs:
In ‘Belvo’ we all stand as friends
From the beginning to the end.
We learn all that we can and more
Belvedere can open doors
BYC facilities include a sports hall, kitchen, computer room, recreational areas, vibrant youth spaces, garden, and residential home.
We work hard to maintain our strong relationships with key stakeholders – including the wider Belvedere community, local organisations, state funders, and philanthropic partners. Through our universal services and targeted youth work programmes, we aim to achieve the following outcomes for members:
Physical and mental wellbeing
Empowerment to achieve their full potential in all areas of learning and development
Feeling safe and protected from harm
Economic security and opportunity
Connected, respected, and contributing to their world
Our funding comes from three key sources: state funding, individual donations, and corporate partnerships.
Although crucial, funding from various state agencies is not nearly enough to cover the wide range of services and supports that we deliver. We therefore welcome ongoing support from individuals and corporates, as well as the invaluable input from volunteers.
Find out how you can help BYC to support the young people of north inner city: