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Youth club seeks funding

PUBLISHED: 11:29 18 September 2008 | UPDATED: 07:39 01 August 2010

A YOUTH club founded by a police community support officer to keep youngsters from rural areas off the streets at their own request has been given the thumbs-up.

A YOUTH club founded by a police community support officer to keep youngsters from rural areas off the streets at their own request has been given the thumbs-up.

But its organiser says it needs funding and more volunteers to secure its long-term future.

The club, which ran its first sessions for youngsters aged 8-17 in Loddon on Tuesday, was founded by police community support officer Donna Boggis, who said she was pleased with the first night turnout of 33.

“Feedback was really positive and lots of them said they would definitely come back,” she said.

“We sort of play the moving-on game with some of them on the streets, and they are always asking us where they can go, so they appreciated that this has been put on for them.

“They can feel shunted but this has accepted that they are part of the community as well.”

The idea for the club came about after PCSO Boggis sent out a questionnaire to youngsters following complaints of anti-social behaviour in the village. Hundreds of children from the surrounding area responded, saying they felt they lacked facilities.

All the club's equipment was donated by companies and friends, and the children themselves helped raise part of its £500 funds.

“It's not going to last very long,” the PCSO said. “I've been turned down four times for grants. We'll keep applying for funding, but we also need more volunteers and are desperately seeking storage.”

She said that lack of storage space at the Jubilee Hall venue meant that volunteers currently have to take home all the equipment, which is equivalent to three car loads, and includes a table tennis table and table football.

Jason Taylor, from Toft Monks, who took his nine-year-old son James and his friend to the club, said it was a hit with the youngsters.

He added: “They both went along not knowing what it would be like but they thoroughly enjoyed it. There isn't a cinema or bowling alley or any facility like that in Loddon so it's great just to have a club where they don't have to do any classroom-type work and can just have fun.”

He added: “The children who tend to create the problems are not the sort who would go to a club, and they will probably continue to cause problems. I think this will have an impact in reducing the problems, but not get rid of them altogether.”

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