'Over the moon' with youth group's growth

'Over the moon' with youth group's growth

A YOUTH club launched in Birstall has proved so popular that crime has reduced in the area.

Paula Dyson opened the club with friend Donna Paling at her cafe, The Cobbles, last November.

“I’m over the moon with its success,” said Paula. “We have never had any trouble with the kids and the crime rate dropped three per cent within the first six weeks of us opening.

“Now it’s down by 12 per cent.”

From an initial 12 youngsters the club on Market Street now attracts up to 30 at its two-hour session on a Wednesday night.

And the organisers are now looking to expand into a larger building.

“We did not expect it to go so well,’’ said Paula. “We had about 12 children to start with and now can have up to 30.

“We would now like to open four nights a week and we would like some bigger premises so we can run a mother and toddler group as well.

“We have somewhere in mind but want to see how it goes.”

The club, known as the Birstall Youth Project, caters for children between the ages of 11 and 15 who pay £1 per session.

Activities on offer include pool, table football and arts and crafts. 

“We are now in the process of getting a karaoke machine,” added Paula.

The club received a £1,000 grant from Kirklees Council and it has also been well supported by Birstall Chamber of Trade, who paid for public liability insurance, a computer printer and a whiteboard for the children to doodle on.

“They have just given us £100 for arts and craft materials,’’ added Paula.

Local firm Ellie’s Flowers also supplies the club with fruit every week so the children can enjoy a healthy snack, and the council’s It’s Up To You funding programme assisted with a £500 grant.

Two volunteers help run the club and a committee has been established.

Paula said that despite the hard work it was very worthwhile.

“I get a huge buzz out of seeing these kids happy,” she said.

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