Hellesdon youth club reopens

A popular youth club has reopened a year after it closed.

Hellesdon's youth club, the Big H, shut in May last year after Norfolk County Council cut its youth services as part of a package of cost-saving measures.

As a result of the cutbacks, the weekly club, based at Hellesdon High School, lost its youth worker.

Since then, the parish council, high school and the neighbourhood policing team have worked together to re-establish the Friday night session which used to see 60 young people attend.

Now, with the help of the local agencies, charity Momentum, which supports children and young people within the voluntary and community sector in Norfolk, and the vision of student Ellie Richards, the facility is now back up and running.

Miss Richards, 21, who is in her final year at Norwich University College of the Arts and lives near the high school, first got on board when she wanted to volunteer at the youth club, only to discover it had closed down.

She said: 'It's really nice that we've managed to get it back open. Being in my final year of uni, people were telling me I didn't have time to do it but now we've got a group of volunteers and it's really good.

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'I'm hoping it's going to be really positive for the young people. We want it to be run by them, not by us. Whatever they want to do, we will try to do it.'

The youth club was originally formed in 2008 in direct response to comments made by local youth that they had nowhere to go and nothing to do.

It is based at the Hellesdon High School which allows the club to use the sixth form common room free of charge.

Miss Richards has been supported by Richard Grady and has 11 volunteers who have all been CRB (Criminal Records Bureau) checked and have gone on first aid and child protection courses.

Eleven youngsters attended the first session on April 27. It is open to young people aged 11 to 16 and has a range of facilities including computer games, a pool table and snacks.

PC Andy Dye, Hellesdon and Horsford beat manager, said: 'I am aware that such youth clubs have significantly reduced anti-social behaviour providing young people somewhere safe and inclusive within the community. It is hoped that this will benefit both young persons and local residents.'

Are you campaigning to save a community facility? Call reporter Kate Scotter on 01603 772326 or email kate.scotter@archant.co.uk.