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"Leave our Youth clubs alone" say Leek young people

By Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: February 05, 2014

By Leslie Jackson

Chelsey Emery, Kate Jackson, Megan Lowe and volunteer Josh Wright at Mountside Youth Club.

Chelsey Emery, Kate Jackson, Megan Lowe and volunteer Josh Wright at Mountside Youth Club.

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Following proposals by the county council to get volunteers to run youth cubs instead of paid leaders, reporter Leslie Jackson visited Mountside Youth Club in Leek.

"PLEASE leave us alone and do not shut our youth club" is the message young people from Leek want to send to Staffordshire County Council.

On a visit to Mountside Youth Club you are met with energetic leaders and many young people who seem to be enjoying themselves in warm and safe premises.

However, speaking to several young people the fear of closure, to what many said was the only place they could go one a night a week in the town, was a real possibility as it felt that volunteers would not take on the highly responsible role for nothing.

Kate Jackson, aged 16, of Leek has been going to the club for three years.

The Leek College student, who is studying art and design, said: "I would missed the youth club if it was forced to close. I like meeting other young people.

"If there was no club I would have nowhere to go in the week and would be forced to stay at home.

"I do not agreed with what the county council is proposing and they should leave us alone."

Megan Lowe, aged 16, of Leek attends Reaseheath College in Nantwich where she is studying animal management.

Megan, who has been attending the club for five years, said: "This is somewhere to meet people. It keeps young people off the street and we are in a warm and safe atmosphere.

"If we need someone to talk to the leaders are always there.

"This is the only thing for us to do in Leek at night. We also attend several activities including go-karting, Alton Towers and Trentham Gardens Aerial Extreme. The council is wrong in trying to change the way the clubs are run."

Chelsey Emery, aged 15, of Leek, attends Leek High School and also Leek College.

She said: "It is nice to come to the youth club as it gives us a social break from our studying.

"You always see a friendly face and I enjoy meeting people.

"We also take part in many activities and everyone has a say in what we do.

"I feel the county council is wrong in what they are doing."

Rees Johnson, aged 14, of Cauldon has been at attending the club for two years.

The Leek High School student said: "I really enjoy the social gathering.

"You meet friends in a warm and safe atmosphere. The council has got it totally wrong and they are not helping young people by what they are proposing."

James Fox, aged 15, of Waterhouses has been attending the club for three years.

He said: "This is a warm atmosphere and the staff are great and very friendly.

"I really enjoy attending the youth club as I like meeting other people.

"Like everyone here I think the council have not got their proposals right."

Volunteer youth leader Josh Wright said that during one session the group had held a debate on the county council's proposals. He said: "Following the debate every single person said the county council had got it wrong.

"It is felt that if enough volunteers do not come forward youth clubs will close.

"This is a big responsibility, especially for the leader as all the financial book have to be kept up to date.

"If these proposals go ahead it will affect between 500 and 600 young people just in Leek beside the rural villages and other towns across the Moorlands.

"Young people come to take part in many activities that we organise which include fun days and educational activities like drug and alcohol abuse.

"It is a safe and warm atmosphere for young people which not only gives then fun activities but help with educational projects."

les.jackson@thepostandtimes.co.uk

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