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Youth project future secure

PUBLISHED: 22:59 07 April 2004 | UPDATED: 04:46 02 March 2010

AFTER months of uncertainty, Felixstowe's desperately-needed young people's project Level Two today announced that its future is safe.

Delighted organisers of the drop in, advice and counselling centre said "significant grants" had been received from a number of trusts and also donations from local organisations and individuals.

AFTER months of uncertainty, Felixstowe's desperately-needed young people's project Level Two today announced that its future is safe.

Delighted organisers of the drop in, advice and counselling centre said "significant grants" had been received from a number of trusts and also donations from local organisations and individuals.

This would enable the centre - sited in Cobbold Road above Tesco - to carry on and employ a professional youth worker.

It has now reopened after a short closure period with a hardworking team of volunteer workers running the sessions.

Keith Barnett, secretary of Felixstowe Youth Development Group, trustees managing Level 2, said everyone involved was thrilled with the support being received and generated by professional fundraisers.

"We have had some marvellous support so far and it means that Level Two's future is secure, which was the main aim," said Mr Barnett.

"Fundraising will continue because there are a variety of costs associated with running the centre, including rent, heating, insurance, equipment and materials.

"As well as the bigger sums we needed, there have been lots of small donations and goodwill from the community, which gives us great heart and also helps to trigger grants from elsewhere."

Last autumn the project launched a major appeal to give it long-term security and improve its services and stop it having to rely on lottery grants which have to be spent within a certain period with the then existing grant rapidly running out.

Around 40 youngsters aged between 10 and early 20s attend per session, some using the centre as a place to meet friends, relax and call their own. They are able to chat, play pool and table soccer, browse the internet, or sit and read in surroundings which organisers describe as "safe, friendly and confidential".

But it is also a place where they can access all the services open to young people, meet youth workers, discuss problems, receive counselling, do homework in peace, get advice on jobs and training, money, legal matters and health.

Support for the youngsters has included dealing with a range of teenage problems, including drugs, alcohol, bullying, school troubles and sexual health.

Former school teacher Mr Barnett said many of the volunteers were in their late teens and early 20s and were building good relationships with the youngsters.

"The kids who come here are pretty good - some have problems, but they are just kids, teenagers," he said.

"Some need a listening ear. I am not being critical of parents, but sometimes they just want to talk with someone who isn't a parent and with some of the volunteers being around the same age they gell together."

He understood concerns of some parents worried about the centre, which is not open to uninvited adults, and said open sessions would be held to allow mums and dads to visit and see the facilities, ask questions and find out more.

"Most parents who have been up here just take one look and say 'Wow', and really appreciate the warm atmosphere and what the centre is for and what it gives the youngsters and are happy," added Mr Barnett.

Factfile:

Level Two, Felixstowe, opening times. Sessions open to all ages.

n Tuesdays: 12.30pm to 1.30pm - ASSIST (sexual health) nurse. From May, there will be film nights on the second and fourth Tuesdays

n Wednesdays: 7pm to 9.30pm - Recreation.

n Thursdays: 4pm to 7pm - Recreation.

n Fridays: 4pm to 7pm - Recreation.

n Saturday: 2pm to 5pm - Recreation.


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