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Sunderland youth group facing closure as funding dries up

Fearing for the future... (l to r) management, workers and volunteers at Grindon Young People's Centre, Karen Craigs, Jackie Collins, Larna Kennedy, Alwtn Hounslow, Betty Knox and Ray Knox.

Fearing for the future... (l to r) management, workers and volunteers at Grindon Young People's Centre, Karen Craigs, Jackie Collins, Larna Kennedy, Alwtn Hounslow, Betty Knox and Ray Knox.

A YOUTH centre is facing a fight to stay open into the new year.

Leaders from Grindon Young People’s Centre say there is a 50/50 chance it may close due to funding problems.

The venue in Grindon Lane has been at risk because of Government cuts which have had a crippling impact over the past few years.

Ray Knox, chairman of the centre’s committee, said times are getting harder, and the centre is just about making ends meet.

Groups which use the facilities pay fees which keep help keep it open, but cash to pay bills and buy equipment is tight.

“At the minute, it is 50/50 as to whether we will stay open,” said 63-year-old Ray, who has been involved with the centre since he was 12. “For me personally, it would be devastating if it closed.

“My dad died when I was 19, and the youth workers at the centre helped me, and I like to think the club can still offer young people the same sort of support.”

The centre has received some financial help from a National Lottery Grant and anonymous donations, as well as raising about £300 itself, but more cash is needed.

Jackie Collins, managing director of Playdays 4 Kidz CIC, said the playgroup, which is run from the centre, would be badly affected if the club was forced to close.

“It would impact on us,” she said. “It would be devastating as we would have to find alternative premises.”

Jackie, who has been running Playdays for 20 years, helped to organise a recent fund-raising event, along with Lana Kennedy, whose son Eddie Cox, two, attends the nursery.

Lana, 28, of Grindon, who is also mum to Harvey, five, said: “If the centre closed, I would be disappointed because Eddie’s done well since he started going.

“It is an important place because there is not much in the area for young people.

“I would like to see it stay open so my sons have somewhere to go when they get older.”

For more information about how to get involved with fund-raising, tel. 07712 455 074.

 

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