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Concerns raised over future of award-winning youth project in Holt

Centre manager Julie Alford did not wish to comment on speculation about the project's future. Picture: TSB

Centre manager Julie Alford did not wish to comment on speculation about the project's future. Picture: TSB

TSB

Volunteers have raised concerns about the future of a once thriving youth project after workers’ hours were cut.

Colin Scoles and his dog, Benson. He has raised concerns about the future of the Holt Youth Project. Pictures: Colin Scoles Colin Scoles and his dog, Benson. He has raised concerns about the future of the Holt Youth Project. Pictures: Colin Scoles

The Holt Youth Project merged with East Anglian-based young people’s charity Ormiston Families in 2014 in a bid to provide assured future funding.

The project has won the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, but fears for its future have been raised after youth workers’ hours were cut and contracts for volunteers were only extended to November.

The club’s annual summer activities programme is also only going ahead thanks to a £6,000 donation from a businessman.

Colin Scoles, who has been a youth volunteer with the project since 1998, said: “I have asked for a meeting with the trustees. It would be in everybody’s interest if a public meeting could be arranged with a representative from Ormiston Families to clarify the future of this award-winning project.”

Colin Scoles has raised concerns about the future of the Holt Youth Project. Pictures: Colin Scoles Colin Scoles has raised concerns about the future of the Holt Youth Project. Pictures: Colin Scoles

The project operates from premises in Old Station Way owned by an independent charity, The Holt Youth Centre, and an Ormiston Families spokesman said they were separate entities managed by separate boards of trustees.

An Ormiston Families spokesman said: “We are committed to supporting young people in Holt and have invested a significant amount into these important projects.

“The services we operate there, like many not-for-profit projects, currently require more funding and working closely with The Holt Youth Centre trustees, we are currently looking at the best solution to ensure the long-term sustainability of our services for our users.”

She added: “We recently reviewed how our services are operated to ensure we are able to continue to deliver our important programmes. Following a formal consultation with our four members of staff and after careful consideration, new contracts were agreed with every team member for term-time hours.”

Centre manager Julie Alford did not wish to comment but admitted that volunteers were anxious about the future. She started a youth club in the living room of her house more than 30 years ago. After community fundraising from 1996 the current project base was opened in 2004. The centre provides a youth club service for local young people on two evenings a week during term-time.

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