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Sheerness County Youth Centre is still going strong one year on from Kent County Council's announcement the service was to have its funding cut

Ray Featherstone at the Sheerness County Youth Centre
Ray Featherstone at the Sheerness County Youth Centre

We will survive. That is the message of volunteers determined to keep Sheerness County Youth Centre open.

One year on from Kent County Council’s (KCC) announcement the service, in Broadway, was to have its funding cut, it is still up and running.

A staff of 10 unpaid youth workers are able to hold activities for young people at the building, nicknamed the Tardis for its deceptively large size, after a temporary lease was agreed with the council last year.

Services have been reduced to Tuesdays and Wednesdays with a disco held fortnightly on Fridays.

It mainly caters for 13 to 16-year-olds now after two clubs for younger age groups had to be dropped due to the loss of paid staff.

Despite this, senior youth worker Ray Featherstone, who was made an MBE for his many years of service to the site, said attendance levels are the same as, if not better than, how they were before.

A pair of new table tennis tables and digital video production equipment have been purchased for the centre in the last year.

Mr Featherstone said the club has funding for the next two years but work needs to be carried out for the long-term.

The youth centre is seeking to gain community asset status through a KCC pilot scheme which would entitle it to discounts on its rent.

Mr Featherstone said: “It has been difficult, trust me, but we have produced results and the young people are coming into the centre and using the facilities but we do need more help.

“There’s a limit to what people can do voluntarily.”

The 69-year-old said the youth club wanted to gain permanent ownership of the building through a right-to-buy scheme but it needs to raise an estimated £100,000 to do so.

He appealed for any firms who can donate, volunteers who could form a management team and other youth workers. They can call 07738 334714.

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