Teens fear for youth centre

YOUNGSTERS today spoke of their worry that their youth club may be closed down.The Level 2 youth project in Felixstowe could fold if its managers do not find around £500,000 for the next three years of survival.

YOUNGSTERS today spoke of their worry that their youth club may be closed down.

The Level2 youth project in Felixstowe could fold if its managers do not find around £500,000 for the next three years of survival.

Teenagers warn they will be forced onto the streets of the seaside town while desperate children in need of advice could struggle to find help elsewhere.

"Felixstowe is rather a boring place – there's nothing to do. Coming here I can meet other people," said Alison Harvey, 14.


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"I would get in to trouble on the streets. Before this opened I got in to trouble, but when I come to Level2 I'm never naughty," said Sam Harris, 14.

Gavin Parris, 15, a Deben High School pupil, said: "It's good here because they have everything – computers, pool table, a room to relax."

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Level2 is approaching their final year of funding in May and its trustees are desperate to raise funds to enable them to continue providing vital services to around 300 young people each week.

They have applied for a £248,350 lottery grant from the Community Fund to cover just over half of the £474,156 needed for the next three years.

"It's not very good," said Charlie Rich, 14, of the news that his youth club could close.

"It's somewhere to hang out after school – lots of people go."

Ollie Milton, 14, spends a lot of his time at the centre maintaining the four websites he set up himself on the computers at the club.

"There would be no place to hang around with mates," he said. "I haven't got the internet at home."

Level2 enables Ollie to develop his self-taught internet skills, he does have access to the internet at school but he has to book a strict period of time each day. In Level2 there is more of a relaxed atmosphere and he only has to stop using a computer when others ask for a turn.

"The youth workers – they're really nice," said Alison Harvey. "They are really helpful, they're not embarrassed to talk about sex like parents are. It's easy to talk to them."

The Orwell High School pupil added: "We don't get sex education at school at the moment, they're just going on about drugs and stuff."

These teenagers benefit from Level2 as a social club as well as getting advice on sex and drugs and using free internet facilities.

But the club is also used as a vital crisis centre where children, who are homeless or living in appalling conditions can get advice on what they are entitled to and what help there is in the community to change their situation.

To help save the centre the board of trustees are hoping to get businesses in the area or generous individuals to sponsor the group. The trustees are also looking for a professional fundraiser to gather the cash needed.

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