Ipswich youth club's hundred reasons for optimism in wake of tragedy
A youth club established to provide children of different backgrounds with a safe environment to develop better relationships has received acclaim for finding hope from tragedy.
Reflections Youth Club was launched in June, at Nansen Road Baptist Church, with a mission to break down barriers following the murder of Tavis Spencer-Aitkens in neighbouring Packard Avenue a year earlier.
Founded by the 17-year-old's father, Neville Aitkens, and stepmother, Helen Forbes, the club has since registered more than 100 young members, and welcomed three special guests in recent weeks; Ipswich MP Sandy Martin, prospective parliamentary candidate Tom Hunt, and mayor Jan Parry.
Youth worker Terry Charles, who also welcomed the visitors with minister Peterson Anand, said the MP had pledged continued support for the club - which meets every Thursday from 6pm-8pm - and committed to returning to volunteer in the future.
Meanwhile, Mr Hunt called it a privilege to meet so many dedicated members of the community, adding: "The church is close to the location where a tragedy occurred in the summer of 2018.
"However, their response has been to come to together and fight for the futures of young people in the communities in which they live.
"As a town, there a challenges we have to overcome. However, this visit gave me a number of reasons to be optimistic about the future."