Battle to save youth club

PUBLISHED: 11:33 08 February 2007 | UPDATED: 14:59 12 May 2010

Lesley-Ann Craddick outside Buntingford Youth Club - 2189DW1

Lesley-Ann Craddick outside Buntingford Youth Club - 2189DW1

A YOUTH worker who wants the community to take pride in its youngsters is appealing for help to keep a youth club open. Lesley-ann Craddick of the Buntingford Youth Club says the club, which provides young people with events and activities, needs support

A YOUTH worker who wants the community to take pride in its youngsters is appealing for help to keep a youth club open.

Lesley-ann Craddick of the Buntingford Youth Club says the club, which provides young people with events and activities, needs support if it is to remain open at its 100-year-old premises in Baldock Road.

She said: "The management committee would like the club to be open more often and to improve the building, by fixing the roof for a start."

The project is likely to cost £140,000, plus an additional £15,000 per year for running costs.

Mrs Craddick said: "We have no money but we still have a huge water bill to pay, as well as electric and gas bills.

"We don't want to lose the building. It is a valuable part of the Buntingford community, and a part of our history."

The youth club currently opens its doors to youngsters on Monday evenings, with 20-40 youngsters using the facilities at any one time.

Adult care services also use the building on weekdays for The Buntingford Project, which is aimed at helping people with learning difficulties and they have upgraded the garden area and decorated the cafe.

Mrs Craddick is concerned that many people consider the youngsters in the town to be anti-social.

She said: "Members of the Buntingford community are dishing the dirt on young people at every opportunity but what they don't see is this wonderful provision in Buntingford where there's a lot of respect.

"There's only a minority of youngsters causing trouble in the town, and what we want is for people to take pride in their youngsters because they are youngsters to be proud of.

"Youngsters are getting as frustrated as adults about the current situation.

If they don't want to go to organised activities, such as Scouts, what do they do for the rest of the week? There is nowhere for them to go.

"We pay the higest Council Tax rates in East Herts and have some of the highest house prices, so parents are having to be out at work and can't always be with their children.

"So let's be a community and work together."

The club is currently in the process of applying for a £40,000 grant to help with the project.

Herts County Council, which owns the building, is also reviewing the building and its costs.

A spokeswoman said: "We are working with the management committee to explore the best way forward."

The council is also encouraging young people to make a bid to the youth capital fund - a fund to be spent on what young people want.

The club is also in need of voluntary youth workers and people to sit on the management committee.

Management committee chairman Clyde Millard said: "You can make a difference by getting out there and doing something positive to help."

Anyone who would like to become involved should call Lesley-ann Craddick on 01763 273060.

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