Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Conkers and kerby help win over youths in Barnsley

Conkers Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Conkers is a traditional children's game played using the seeds of horse chestnut trees

Conker fights and the street game kerby are being used by youth workers to win over groups of teenagers in Barnsley.

The old school favourites have proved to be a successful way of breaking down barriers with young people gathering on the town's Kendray estate.

It is part of outreach work being done by the Youth Association charity.

Youth worker Rebecca Coyne said: "The kids have really enjoyed it and it's opened up informal discussions around issues such as drink and drugs."

She said the charity was constantly thinking of "fun and creative" ways of getting young people on side and the games were helping "keep them out of bother".

Ms Coyne said: "Everyone in Yorkshire knows how to play kerby so it just felt like something fun and simple to do."

Image copyright Youth Association
Image caption The charity said playing the games had opened up discussions and young people had asked for more information around drugs

She added: "I found a kerby kit online which means it doesn't have to be played on the streets and we've had big groups of lads wanting to play.

"It's got them off the streets and away from hanging about in groups where they can often be perceived to be causing a nuisance."

What is kerby?

Traditionally, kerby involves two people throwing a ball across the street aiming at the opponent's kerb.

If a player misses the kerb then the opponent takes possession of the ball and proceeds to take their go.

If the ball hits the kerb cleanly and bounces back to the player then they score a point.

That player keeps the ball and moves to the middle of the road and attempts the same again.

Each bounce from the middle counts as one point and this continues until that player misses.

Ms Coyne said the charity's approach to youth work was about "getting out there with the kids" and "approaching things from their point of view".

She said the games had enabled them to win over the trust of the teenagers before moving on to discussions around other issues.

"It's about being in their space, being respectful of them and not telling them what to do.

"By playing these games, having fun, we've won over their trust and they've been able to speak to us openly about things like drink and drugs."

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