Youngsters at risk of losing youth group

Youngsters and youth workers from the youth group that operates two weekly sessions at Point 7, in Havant. On the left is Marie and Stuart Holmes, church minister and lead youth worker.
Youngsters and youth workers from the youth group that operates two weekly sessions at Point 7, in Havant. On the left is Marie and Stuart Holmes, church minister and lead youth worker.
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ALMOST 50 youngsters who depend on being part of a youth group for hot meals, friendship and guidance have said: ‘Help us save our group’.

The 11 to 19-year-olds who are part of a Leigh Park youth group operating from Point 7, in Havant, are at risk of having their livelihoods taken away from them.

The charity that runs and funds the group, Communitas, is closing, and as of this month there is no longer any money to pay building costs and the two youth workers who run the group.

Marie Holmes is a minister from St Clare’s Church, Warren Park, and is trying to get the group under the organisation of the church for security and safeguarding reasons. Her husband is the group’s lead youth worker.

Marie, 38, said: ‘We want the group to be run by volunteers. My husband is going to continue his work.

‘Up until Tuesday we almost didn’t have anywhere to operate because we didn’t know if we’d be able to stay at Point 7, but as of September we can.

‘But that costs money and we’re calling on members of the public, councillors, charities, businesses, anyone who can help us to fund the costs of the building and also other running costs.

‘We provide the children with hot meals. They are devastated and all want the community to help to save their group.’

Communitas previously had funds from Hampshire County Council’s Local Children’s Partnerships scheme to pay the youth workers and the cost of the building, but was not able to obtain more funds to continue running the group.

Lead youth worker Stuart Holmes, 50, said the service is vital for the youngsters.

He said: ‘There’s no other club like it in the area. We help the kids engage with the world, teach them life skills, feed them and help them through very tough life circumstances.

‘We can’t keep going without funds.’ To find out how you can help, e-mail marieann5@hotmail.co.uk.