Sunderland youth club celebrates 25 years of helping the community

St Marks Community Association youth club
St Marks Community Association youth club
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A YOUTH club which is now entertaining the children of some of its original members has celebrated its 25th anniversary.

St Mark’s Community Association youth club in Millfield was established in 1988 by parents to give their children somewhere to go after school.

It has gone from strength to strength and now boasts groups for teens, pre-teens, five to nine-year-olds and toddlers.

The pool tables, Xboxs and trampolines are a far cry from the bring-your-own-toys approach of the late 80s.

Lynsey Mason, 33, from Pallion, was one of the first youngsters to join the club, when she was eight-years old. Her sons Jake, 10, and Aaron, seven, have both attended St Mark’s.

“My mum helped set it up because there was nothing in the community for us to do,” she said.

“It’s fantastic because there’s nothing else like it for kids to just go and play.

“There’s the little tuck shop as well, and you thought you were great going to a club and buying sweets with your money

“It’s totally different now. There was nothing, really, when I was there. Now they have Xboxs, bouncey castles and it’s a lot more structured. To see my kids there now is fantastic. The community will always keep it going.”

Peter Anderson has volunteered at the club since day one, and he said he can’t believe how quickly the time has passed. “It doesn’t feel like 25 years, but it’s been quite an experience,” he said.

“It’s very strange when mums who attended themselves bring their own children. That’s when it hits you and makes you feel old.

“It’s so much better now, and the equipment has improved a lot, and the centre’s much better run.”

For more details of the club, call 514 4126 or email martinrobson@btinternet.com.