Resident hopes to build big youth centre for children

LH 020315 Electric Storm Youth organisers respond to council  Marion Peskett. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-150303-100749001
LH 020315 Electric Storm Youth organisers respond to council Marion Peskett. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-150303-100749001
  • Youth group calls UKIP councillor’s comment untrue
  • Big plans to expand youth centre
  • Group hopes to benefit from part of village’s Section 106 money

FOLLOWING a councillor’s plea for more youth services in Lancing and Sompting last month, the chairman of a local youth centre has spoken out and said there are already services in place.

In 2007, Marion Peskett launched Electric Storm Youth (ESY), and became chairman, so young people in Lancing and Sompting could have a safe haven to play, learn and make new friends.

“I’m born and bred in Lancing,” said Mrs Peskett, “But I felt saddened throughout the years because it’s not the place I remember.

“Safety is now the biggest thing for ESY.”

To get the ball rolling, Mrs Peskett consulted with local churches, schools, police and councillors, and felt motivated by their encouragement to introduce a central youth service.

“I’ve always been against just putting a skate park outside. Young people need supervision,” said the 55-year-old. Now a registered charity with East Worthing and Shoreham MP Tim Loughton as patron, ESY has grown to become a community hub that hosts regular activities for young people at The Alternative Provision Centre (APC) in Grinstead Lane, Lancing. “We have a fantastic bunch of volunteers,” said Mrs Peskett.

I’ve always been against just putting a skate park outside

Marion Peskett

These include those who help with the Saturday sessions at APC, the team that run the ESY charity shop in North Road, Lancing, and those acting behind the scenes. However, at the Lancing and Sompting Community Link meeting in February, chairman Lionel Parsons said the area is in ‘desperate need of youth centres’, but after the meeting Mrs Peskett said it is ‘blatantly not true’.

“ESY has been running for eight years and has developed into a much broader institution than it was at first,” she said.

Around 30 to 35 youths, between 12 and 17-years-old, turn up each week for the Saturday sessions.

The club hosts a range of activities including football, table tennis and cooking, to name a few.

ESY is now hoping to apply for £500,000 of the £1.3m Section 106 money from Brighton and Hove Albion’s training ground.

The club plans to purchase the APC land and build a large youth centre including a hall, quiet room, kitchens, multi-gym, music studio, changing rooms and more.

At the Link meeting, fronted by a panel of UKIP councillors, many suggestions were discussed for more youth facilities.

Sompting Parish Councillor Gina Scotting recommended that local pubs and supermarkets offer up space for activities.

To learn more about ESY, visit www.electricstormyouth.co.uk or call 07963914613.