Youth club appeals for volunteers

JPCT 141211 Henfield Youth Club. photo by derek martin
JPCT 141211 Henfield Youth Club. photo by derek martin

HENFIELD Youth Club is looking for ways to save money amid County Council cuts to the youth budget.

As reported in the County Times (01/12/11), West Sussex County Council (WSCC) announced a further £2 million cuts to its youth services budget, significantly affecting youth centres across the Horsham District.

Henfield parish council is working with the village’s youth club management team to work out a plan to provide support if staffing is cut further.

In a first wave of cuts earlier this year two members of staff took voluntary redundancy, while another was moved to a different location.

The club now mostly relies on a team of unpaid volunteers from the village to help out.

Youth worker Debbie Slaughter is employed by WSCC and has two staff that are only paid for two and a half hours a week. However, they will not work these hours in Henfield from April.

Member of the management team and Horsham District councillor Shelia Matthews (Ind, Henfield) spoke to the County Times about how vital this service is for the youth of the village.

“The youth centre sets up the village for the future. The children that go there now get a good grounding, they learn skills and have fun and learn how to work together.”

She added that Henfield as a village is ‘fairly isolated’ with no buses running after 7pm each night.

“If a young person wants to get out of the village after seven it is very difficult for them to get home,” she said.

Ms Matthews, keen to see the youth club continue its important social role, also highlighted how important volunteers will be to its future.

She said the club is looking for people who are qualified plumbers or electricians who would be able to help out if something went wrong.

“I don’t want the burden on just one person,” she said. “If we could get a group of people who we could call on that could help, it wouldn’t happen a lot as the building isn’t very old.”

Mike Beardall, chairman of Henfield Enterprise, said: “Henfield Youth Club has been at the centre of this community for years and does vital work in keeping young people motivated and focused.

“Without the youth club this village would be massively poorer. We need to give young people every opportunity to achieve their potential, whatever their situation.

“The work Debbie and her team does is essential for the future of young people in Henfield.”

WSCC will provid support for Henfield Youth Club until the end of the current financial year with transitional funding.

The youth club has two evenings a week for seniors (11-19) and one evening for juniors (8-11). There are 75 current members of the youth club and up until September there has been 120 members at various times of the year.