Working Neighbourhood Fund Great Yarmouth youth club seeks funds

NEW funding is needed to secure the future of a social group helping unemployed people in Great Yarmouth.

Members of the Over 25s Youth Club meet to receive advice and support, take part in social activities or just enjoy a cup of tea and a chat.

The group has been partly supported by the government’s Working Neighbourhood Fund which is due to end next month. Remaining funding is scheduled to continue until September.

Now organisers Great Yarmouth Community Trust are hoping to save the project that has helped several jobseekers return to work.

Around 50 people attend the weekly sessions at the town’s Priory Centre, which has been running since November 2009.

Inspire volunteer co-ordinator Rachael Hardie manages the project and has seen the difference it has made to people’s lives.

She said: “The group relies entirely on government funding and we will continue to search for funding for this very important resource.

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“The people here cannot be fitted into a box or niche, they all have different needs. They would not necessarily make a noise when the services they use are at risk.”

Those attending can take part in a variety of activities as well as speak to advisers on family, training, health and benefit issues.

Lorraine Chaplin-Madden, from Yarmouth, is hoping to find a job after giving up work to bring up her family. As a result of attending the Over 25s club she has been to several workshops including confidence building, cooking and photography.

“I gave up work to have a family; now they have grown up I don’t have the skills to get back into employment,” said Lorraine.

“I used to work in the computer industry, but the IT sector has moved on such a lot.

“There have been so many groups to join, which has been brilliant, but after September I don’t know if there will be anything at all.”

She added: “The government has got to make some cutbacks, but penny pinching from places like this is wrong.”

Former store security officer Terry Foley-Turner joined the Over 25s Youth Club shortly after it was set up.

He said: “Coming here keeps me busy and saves sitting between four walls. Playing Scrabble exercises the brain and I enjoy doing art or just having a cup of tea and a chat.”

The group is run with the help of volunteers through the Inspire Project which also finds work experience placements for the unemployed.

Ageless Opportunities co-ordinator Kate Platt helped set up the club and is hoping that its long-term future can be quaranteed.

She said: “The club is very informal and there are so many things to do. Those that attend are around people with similar issues and everyone is accepted.

“This is an exciting and innovative project in the borough and I hope long-term funding can be found for it to continue.”

For more information about the Over 25s Youth Club call Rachael Hardie on 01493 743000.