The History of Wings

Wings was set up in 2000 in response to a request from a group of young people for somewhere to hang out in Bideford. They had attended Soul Survivor, a Christian Music Festival, and wanted something like the Cyber Cafe they had seen there. After some initial consultation and a search for suitable premises, the Salvation Army Hall was purchased through a private donation and renovated to form the present Wings Hall. The Cyber Cafe (Source) opened in 2002 and the work has expanded since then as we began to meet young people and understand some of their difficulties and their aspirations.

For many young people the reality of living in rural Devon is not the idyllic lifestyle often portrayed of thatched cottages, beautiful coastlines and cream teas. The economic uncertainties continue to undermine those who are most vulnerable, particularly in geographic areas that are already struggling. Torridge now has the second lowest average earnings in the UK and is one of the most deprived areas. With underlying low productivity and relatively few job opportunities, the future prospects look bleak, particularly for many of the young people we work with.

We now operate a multifaceted approach to working with disadvantaged young people including running leisure activities (eg sports and surfing), alternative curriculum activities with those struggling at school (eg digital music, video and animation) and various programmes (eg conservation projects and motor mechanics) with those who are NEET (Not in Employment, Education or Training), young offenders or those excluded from school.


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