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‘They’ve stolen from the community’ - heartbreak after thieves steal from Gorleston youth club

PUBLISHED: 08:00 28 July 2014

Archant © 2012

Volunteers from a youth group in Gorleston are “devastated” after thieves broke into their clubhouse.

Youngsters from Gorleston Chillax youth club at their recent visit to How HillYoungsters from Gorleston Chillax youth club at their recent visit to How Hill

The Gorleston Chillax youth club, a fortnightly drop-in club for local youngsters aged seven to 17, had to cancel their Friday night session after the Church Lane Community Centre was targeted by criminals.

Karen Stubbs, who has helped run the club since it launched with lottery funding in 2011, said: “I’m angry; they’ve stolen from the community.

“This is a small club completely run by volunteers. We don’t have a lot but they’ve taken what we do have. They’ve taken from the youngsters.”

Thieves broke into the centre, which is used by a handful of Gorleston groups, on Wednesday night, damaging cupboards and clearing out one cupboard where Chillax’s tuck shop supplies are kept.

“It’s only about £100 worth but it has taken us a long time to build that up,” said Mrs Stubbs.

“We don’t charge entry so the small change we get from the tuck shop is the only money we make and it’s all put back into the club for activities and trips.”

The youngsters last week visited How Hill in Ludham.

Volunteer Jane Palmer hopes someone who knows about the break-in will pass information to the police.

“Someone must know who was involved and I want our young people to know it’s unacceptable and they do not deserve it,” she said.

“My concern is they will take it in there stride as something that just ‘happens’ and I do not want them to think that’s ok.

“Our club is run completely by volunteers and we have up to 50 children some nights so it is well used. We rely solely on donations for funding.

“We do not charge entrance like other clubs so as not to exclude anyone.

“Our kids are great and they will be very sad to hear this news.

There was a ‘silver lining’ that thieves did not managed to get inside a cupboard where expensive equipment, including games consoles, were kept but work to repair the damaged units is having to be carried out by Great Yarmouth Borough Council.

Gorleston Chillax was founded with the support of Norfolk Police’s local Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT) in 2011 after receiving a cash grant from the Big Lottery Fund.

Anyone with information on the break in is asked to call Gorleston SNT on 101.

To find out more about supporting the youth club, call Mrs Stubbs on 07825 296518 or see the Gorleston Chillax page on Facebook.

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