‘Leap of faith’ pays off for Ottery’s youth club

Ottery mayor cllr Glyn Dobson with deputy mayor cllr Ian Holmes, revd Mac Dick from The 06 and cllr

Ottery mayor cllr Glyn Dobson with deputy mayor cllr Ian Holmes, revd Mac Dick from The 06 and cllr Geoff Pratt with the papers for The Station after they were handed over to the Town Council. Ref sho 1386-47-14SH Picture: Simon Horn - Credit: Archant

A ‘leap of faith’ has paid off after Ottery’s youth club secured £7,680 to restart weekly sessions – 18 months after it faced being axed completely.

The Reverend Mac Dick this week revealed that The Station has been awarded funding through the National Lottery’s Awards for All scheme and said it means there is an exciting future ahead for the centre and young people in the town.

Mr Dick spearheaded a campaign to reinstate services after Devon County Council cuts threatened the future of the youth club in September 2014, resulting in the town council taking on the lease of the premises.

Although its transformation into a community hub was a great success, it has been a rocky road for the centre – which was forced to suspend the fortnightly youth nights last month due to a lack of staff.

Mr Dick said: “They have granted enough funding to cover us for a whole 12-month period, running the youth club every week on a Monday and a Wednesday and it’s going to be starting up again in early March.

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“We are in the process of signing up two new youth workers and two new junior youth workers. We hope to employ two young adults who have actually come through the youth club themselves - it is all looking very exciting.

“Holding weekly sessions will make it much easier for young people to know when it’s on.

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“We are really excited because, once it gets going on a regular basis, we are optimistic that the following year we will be able to get some good success stories and go for more funding.

“Going right back, this was a leap of faith to step out and try and save the youth club.

“The fact that we did the transition of going from a pilot project to finally being able to offer it on a weekly basis is really exciting and the young people know it will be there, which is really good for the town.”

The now-thriving community hub was granted charity status in autumn 2015.

Students at The King’s School have already set out plans to start a cinema club using the newly-installed projection equipment, complete with 120-inch screen and surround-sound speakers.

Regular youth centre nights will commence during term-time from the first week in March – every Monday for school years six to eight from 6.30pm to 8.30pm, and on a Wednesday from 7pm to 9pm for years nine and above.

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