Rastrick youth group faces axe

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RASTRICK Youth Forum could face closure if more funding isn’t secured.

The forum in Burnsall Road is the latest victim of the budget cuts and unless funding can be found its doors could close by the end of the year.

Committee members and youth workers are working hard on an application to the National Lottery which would secure running costs of the forum for the next five years.

But in order for the application to be successful they need to provide documentation that the service is needed in the area.

Louise Hardy, youth worker manager, said: “We are putting together a brochure which will include the findings from a consultation that the young people will be undertaking in the area and a report from one of our helpers who benefited from the service of the forum.”

The application will document various projects the forum has been involved in since it started in 1997 and case studies on some of the young people. “We want to show people how far we have come in the last 14 years and the impact we have had both with the community and the young people who attend,” she said. “If we don’t secure the funding then it is going to close.”

The forum which provides activities and projects for young people throughout the school holidays as well as catering for them two nights a week does depend entirely on grants and with an increase in the numbers of young people attending more helpers are needed.

She said they are hoping that the grant will enable them to open an extra three nights a week to cater for the young people aged from nine through to 21 so they can do more productive work with them and increase the number of youth workers.

Cameron Scrimshaw, 17, has been attending the forum for the last five years and despite moving to Skipton from Rastrick he still travels back to attend the forum.

“I got into a bad crowd when I was younger and would often do things they did but when I started attending the forum and they kicked me out for doing something bad it would make me think about my actions. You don’t get rewarded for bad behaviour here but I found when I started behaving I was rewarded with trips.

“Recently we did some bag-packing at one of the supermarkets and raised funds for a residential trip to Paris. Many people around here don’t get the experience to go abroad so that was a big thing for many of us.

“If it wasn’t for the forum I would probably still be on the streets causing a lot of trouble. It has helped me a lot even if you have problems they come and help you and offer you advice.”

Louise said the forum can provide invaluable skills for the young people and the projects which are undertaken during the school holidays.

“We need people to tell us how important this service is in the community or if they have any ideas on how we can improve it or how the building could be used when we aren’t open,” said Louise.

“If people can contact us with their ideas and feedback at rastrickyouthforum@yahoo.co.uk and it will all go towards the lottery application.”