Volunteers given a chance to keep youth centre open
A club for young people has been thrown a
lifeline just over a week before it was set to close its doors
after 52 years.
Kent County Council (KCC) is
offering an 18-month lease of The Sheerness County Youth Centre, in
Broadway, Sheerness, to a charity.
In November, the authority
announced the building will not be included in its new model for
youth services, which would have seen it closed and services run
It is understood the new
arrangement has not yet been signed off but if given the go-ahead
the project would be run by a group of 10 volunteers.
Senior youth worker Ray
Featherstone, who retires at the end of the month after more than
50 years at the site, is offering his services.
A team of eight qualified staff,
who have previously worked with youngsters at the centre, are also
on board as is a cleaner.
It is hoped doors will reopen on
January 15 after a two-week break.
A new name for the site has not
been decided, but registered charity Sheerness Youth, formerly
Sheerness County Youth Centre Trust, will oversee its running.
Under new plans, the centre would
be open on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and there would be a fortnightly
disco on Fridays.
Youngsters who use the club were
told that it might stay open at a disco night and were said to be
"over the moon".
Most of the equipment, which
includes DJ decks, a table tennis table and a video camera, would
stay as it was paid for by the charity.
Sheerness Youth is seeking to
appeal to other Island charities to help it keep the centre
Daphne Mannering, chair of the
trustees for Sheerness Youth, said: "On behalf of the charity, I
would like to say how delighted and much relieved I am that the
Sheerness youth club has been offered an 18-month lease by KCC.
"I am so indebted to Ray
Featherstone, members of his qualified staff and the cleaner who
would be working on a completely voluntary basis."
Restoration Youth, a community project, has been granted a
three-year contract by KCC to provide youth services in the town
which includes a cafe run by young people.
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