East Devon District Councillor Ian Hall, the ward member for Axminster, cuts the first slice of the SWITCH birthday cake

Council’s SWITCH project for young people and their families celebrates its fifth year of success in Axminster

The Millwey SWITCH group in Axminster, East Devon, recently celebrated its fifth anniversary by throwing a special party at the Millwey Community Centre with friends and supporters old and new invited to join in the fun.

East Devon community development workers Victoria Robinson, Mark Gerry and Deirdre Ryan, who organise and run the SWITCH groups, were joined by East Devon Countryside ranger Penny Evans, Anna Arroussi came from East Devon’s Thelma Hulbert Gallery in Honiton and Helen Phillips and Bernadette Johnson were there from the charity HALFF.

Penny brought pin art for everyone to try and after much enthusiastic hammering some beautiful pieces were created.

Mark Gerry supervised badge making based on designs created by SWITCH members.

Thelma Hulbert’s Anna created an animated video with the young guests and incorporated the pin art and badges into the piece. This will soon be available on Vimeo and the SWITCH/East Devon Facebook pages.

HALFF taught youngsters how to make delicious muffins and dips to go with the spectacular SWITCH birthday cake.

East Devon District Councillors Andrew Moulding, the deputy leader, together with ward  member Ian Hall and Councillor Paul Hayward, the Mayor of Axminster, also attended and helped celebrate SWITCH’s birthday.

Councillor Ian Hall, East Devon District Council’s ward member for Axminster, said:

I was overjoyed to be invited to the Millwey Rise SWITCH 5th Birthday party and I felt very honoured to be asked to cut the cake.

I am very aware of the good work carried out by SWITCH and at times I have been lucky enough to have been involved with SWITCH’s summer Community Days. SWITCH has been a great benefit to all who have attended over the years, which in turn helps put good roots down for the future community.

Arts and crafts are often taught along with cooking and it’s good for young people to be out there doing educational activities in a safe environment. I truly believe that organisations like SWITCH are the glue that helps stick communities together.

East Devon District Council community development worker, Victoria Robinson, said:

It has been a great experience working with the young people of Millwey over the past five years, seeing them grow and develop. The fact that older members still pop in to say hello shows, I think, that we have succeeded in our aim of providing safe spaces and building relationships with our young tenants. We have also had a lot of fun and I would like to thank all the teams and agencies who have given us support over the years and helped to make the club a good place to be.  I’m looking forward to the next five. It was lovely to look at old pictures and videos and to remember all the things we have done together.

Councillor Jill Elson, East Devon District Council’s portfolio holder for sustainable homes and communities, said:

The success of our community development workers can be seen at Millwey Rise with the celebration of five years of SWITCH activity at the community centre. The SWITCH project has definitely improved the quality of life for young people and their families, introducing them to new skills, including how to use a computer to access information and services, how to live on a low income and how to cook healthy family meals. This is all excellent work and long may it continue.