Lenny calls for more youth funding

VIDEO Comedian and charity campaigner Lenny Henry has called for increased funding for youth projects in Ipswich after meeting with community workers.

COMEDIAN and charity campaigner Lenny Henry has called for increased funding for youth projects in Ipswich after meeting with community workers.

Mr Henry, who performed his comedy show at The Regent this week, took time out from his busy schedule to meet Pam Littlejohn who runs the Waterfront Community Centre on Grimwade Street.

After signing a Comic Relief mural created by people who visit the centre, Mr Henry told The Evening Star he is a strong believer in community projects and their ability to create change for the better.

He said good funding from authorities was crucial to their long-term success.

Mr Henry said: “There seems to be a malaise in society with young people attacking each other.

“Community centres, far from being boring places, could serve a purpose and focus people and give them things to do that aren't boring.

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“People with half a brain need to speak to teenagers and get their views on things they want to do and then maybe we wouldn't have so much trouble on the streets.”

Parts of Ipswich and Suffolk suffer from anti-social behaviour and low-level crime with “hoodie” wearing teenagers and groups of youths often being blamed for problems.

Despite calls for youth facilities there are only a handful of youth and community centres in the area - The Waterfront Centre being one of them.

Mr Henry said: “I think young people should be able to write their own manifesto.

“I think teenagers really need a place that is cool and created with them in mind but it is always to do with the money.

“There should be no reason young people can't have a place where they feel they belong.”

Mrs Littlejohn told The Evening Star she shared Mr Henry's vision and that the Waterfront Centre was striving to be a place where people could go and feel relaxed and comfortable.

She said: “We want to provide community cohesion and to be there for everybody.”

Do you agree with Lenny Henry's views? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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