Bid to boost lives of resort youngsters

A NEW group is trying to raise hundreds of thousands of pounds to give a town's bored teenagers a place of their own.The organisation - called Felixstowe Bored Kids - is aiming to rent or buy a large property which can be converted for a wide variety of activities.

A NEW group is trying to raise hundreds of thousands of pounds to give a town's bored teenagers a place of their own.

The organisation - called Felixstowe Bored Kids - is aiming to rent or buy a large property which can be converted for a wide variety of activities.

Youngsters are fully behind the project and are already meeting regularly to take part in a range of sports, hobbies and social events.

But they really want somewhere as a base for the future and are looking into the possibility of using the old Manor Club or the former North Sea Hotel, which was most recently Lix's nightclub and is currently being assessed for demolition and replacement with a restaurant, shops and flats.

Brian Heppell, a member of the Felixstowe Bored Kids committee, said the idea for the centre arose after his 20-year-old daughter Kelly, chairman of the group, went away to London for awhile.

He said: “She felt there was nothing to do here and went away to the bright lights of London, and found there was a lot more for the different age groups there.

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“When she came back she was determined to make something happen here in her home town for young people - she didn't want them to just hang around bored, smoking and drinking on the seafront. She wanted to do something about it.”

With a group of like-minded people the project started organising small events and activities for 13 to 20 year olds.

It has grown so quickly, with dozens taking part, and now the group wants a building.

Mr Heppell said the North Sea Hotel, Sea Road, would be ideal. The ground floor could become a tourist attraction, possibly an art gallery or museum, and the upstairs for pool tables, darts, table tennis, plus a hall for boxing, karate, karaoke and regular discos and talent nights, and which could also be hired out.

The top floor rooms could be used as a training suite for courses in different crafts or skills such as hairdressing.

Attempts to set up a meeting with the developers Thornlane Homes had not proved successful.

“There are 1,400 youngsters in this age group in this town and we feel such a centre would bring huge benefits for them, giving them a real place of their own to meet up and just relax and keep them off the streets and out of trouble,” said Mr Heppell.

Do you think setting up a big youth centre is a good idea? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk