Youth club opens in Chantry to provide safe place for youngsters

A new youth club has opened in Chantry to allow kids to come together

A new youth club has opened in Chantry to allow kids to come together - Credit: Tom Cann

A new youth club has opened in Ipswich to allow vulnerable children to come together. 

Triangle Church on Dickens Road in Chantry, Ipswich, is the home of a new youth club offering a safe space for children to chat with one another and enjoy the activities. 

The opening night of the youth club on April 7, was attended by more than 50 children and was attended by Ipswich MP Tom Hunt, the Mayor of Ipswich Elizabeth Hughes, and Ipswich Town forward Macauley Bonne. 

Left to Right: Dionne Walton, Lisa Clarke, Perri Daniel, Jane Goodchild

Left to Right: Dionne Walton, Lisa Clarke, Perri Daniel, Jane Goodchild. Volunteers at the youth club - Credit: Tom Cann

Lisa Clarke, who was behind the idea, said she wanted to start a youth club three years ago, but due to the pandemic, plans were put on hold. 

She said: “I’m completely buzzing. My hopes are that we can engage young people and bring kids together, specifically in Chantry.  

"It is a safe space for young people to go, too, and gives them something to do."

Access Community Trust, based in Lowestoft, will help run the project every Thursday evening. Jane Goodchild will be leading the youth club with a group of volunteers. She said: "We feel really privileged to be here.

On offer is pool, arts and crafts, games, PS5, table tennis and a BBQ

On offer is pool, arts and crafts, games, PS5, table tennis and a BBQ - Credit: Tom Cann

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"We are really excited and grateful to Lisa and everybody involved in it. I think we are going to have a great team."

The youth club hopes to, in the future, be able to offer trips out to the beach or cinema, as well as gain more volunteers from the local community who can help run the youth club for months to come. 

The youth club has largely been funded by Ipswich Borough Council, with David Ellesmere, council leader, supporting the project. 

The Mayor of Ipswich, Elizabeth Hughes attended the event.

The Mayor of Ipswich, Elizabeth Hughes attended the event. - Credit: Tom Cann

Elizabeth Hughes, the Mayor of Ipswich said: “We are here because of Ipswich Borough Council and the parents here.  

“It’s an initiative that has come from local people, the mums and dads were saying they wanted something for their children to do here and the young adults. 

“They just wanted them in a safe space with some adults around, where there wasn’t going to be any trouble or intimidation.” 

Reverend of Trinity Church, Lawrence Carey said: “The youth have been underrepresented here and it was a case of how can we all work together, the church, the community and the partners as well and it finally came together and it really is a credit to Lisa and her doggedness to make this happen.” 

Ipswich MP Tom Hunt said: “I don’t think there has been enough for people to do here. 

Ipswich MP Tom Hunt with a group of volunteers at the youth club

Ipswich MP Tom Hunt with a group of volunteers at the youth club - Credit: Tom Cann

“I think it's really positive that this has happened and it has happened thanks to the borough council, Access and key members from the community. 

“We need to have positive things for young people to do. I am pleased this has happened, and I am pleased to be here and see that it is being so well attended.” 

Town striker Macauley Bonne signed autographs and had pictures taken with the children. 

Coming from Chantry himself, he said: “I never had this sort of thing when I was growing up around here, it was more chilling in parks and getting into trouble but here, they can come and chill out with their friends and stay out of trouble. 

Ipswich Town forward Macauley Bonne attended the event and signed autographs and took pictures with the kids.

Ipswich Town forward Macauley Bonne attended the event and signed autographs and took pictures with the kids. - Credit: Jacob Henderson

“In this area there is nothing. You’ve got a few parks and that’s about it. But you need something different to entice children to come here and stay away from stuff on the streets. It is massive for the community.” 

On offer on the opening night was snooker, table tennis, arts and crafts, games, PS5 and a BBQ, cooked by Patrick Rankin owner of Coconut and Lime, Caribbean Street Food, who has been the regular caterer for a lot of Access events. 

He said: “It is something for the kids and I love helping and giving back to the community. 

"When I was young, we had youth clubs but everything has changed now, kids get home from school and go straight to their rooms and go on their phones so it is nice to see kids going back out like how it used to be."

Patrick Rankin from Coconut and Lime, did the catering for the event

Patrick Rankin from Coconut and Lime, did the catering for the event - Credit: Tom Cann