A VILLAGE hall committee has created its own youth club in response to the proposed changes to youth services across the county.
Great Wood Hall Committee has created a sub-group to run a youth club at the venue in Hollington Road, Tean, for children aged up to 16, amid concerns over changes Staffordshire County Council is proposing in its youth services provision.
The Post & Times reported last week how the council is planning to shed 120 paid youth workers' jobs and replace them with volunteers to run clubs.
The village hall committee is being headed by chairman Denise Wheat, secretary Christine Wells and treasurer Helen Smythema.
Mrs Wheat said: "The youth bus has been withdrawn from Tean and the former youth cafe in the village closed some time ago.
"The decision to set up a new youth club came as a result of the county council changes, and it would have been very difficult to get it off the ground without the parish council's help.
"We want to create a space for the young people of Tean to come and socialise with their friends.
"It will take place every week on a Friday from 7pm until 9pm, and we will have guests coming in to do different activities with the kids and teach them different skills. We are looking to hire a youth worker for £10 per hour to work from 6.30pm until 9.30pm each week, along with preparation time, as well as attending regular committee meetings.
"We are also looking for volunteers to help supervise the children and help out with the tuck-shop and signing them in."
The club has enlisted the help of the Staffordshire Council Voluntary Youth Services (SCVYS) to support them with organising the risk assessment, child protection requirements, constitution, health and safety, and insurance for the club.
They are also offering free CRB checks for the volunteers and paid youth worker.
SCVYS is also offering the club a £300 start-up grant.
Claire John, from SCVYS, said: "I've been speaking to the young people about what activities they want and any ideas they had. They are really keen to have a youth club and are also very willing to help with fund-raising for trips and activities."
Great Wood Hall is subsidised by Checkley Parish Council, which has a five-year lease with Staffordshire County Council, with the aim of purchasing it. David Ball, chairman of Great Wood Hall Committee said: "It has always been the wish of the parish council to have a youth club, and funding has purposefully been set aside for that.
"We've always been the poor man in relation to Staffordshire moorlands District council and Staffordshire County Council because the money is always spent on the towns and cities.
"We've always had to do our own thing and organise something ourselves. The district council has maintained that because we own our playgrounds and recreation ground, they won't subsidise any equipment.
"If anything has been done in this parish it's been done with our small parish precept. It's always been the same, we've never had any outside assistance, but at least it means we are in control and know where the money is going."
Keith Flunder, chairman of Checkley Parish Council, added: "We have been trying to get a youth club up and running for two-and-a-half years and this year it fitted together with what is happening with the county council youth provision changes.
"We are very pleased with the volunteers who have come forward and it is our hope that it will have longevity."
Anyone interested in joining the club as a volunteer or would like to apply youth worker job can contact Denise Wheat on 07812056085 or email firstname.lastname@example.org