Funding to run out for Holt Youth Project but organisers are positive about its future

Trainee youth worker Joseph Shade and youth worker Lisa Pittingale in the Holt Youth Project Kitchen

Trainee youth worker Joseph Shade and youth worker Lisa Pittingale in the Holt Youth Project Kitchen. Photo: Karen Bethell - Credit: Archant

Funding for staff at a community project which provides positive life experiences for a young people across north Norfolk will be running out this year.

Fourteen-year-old Jack Waterman working on a creative writing project with youth worker Jamie Merrit

Fourteen-year-old Jack Waterman working on a creative writing project with youth worker Jamie Merritt. Photo: Karen Bethell - Credit: Archant

But trustees and organisers behind the Holt Youth Project are 'confident' they will be able to carry on and expand the work they do.

They are currently looking for funds to boost the town base from September this year after a five-year £388,700 Big Lottery Young People's Fund runs out.

Julie Alford, 58, from Coronation Road, Holt, founder and manager of the project, said: 'We remain confident and hopeful. We work with a lot of partners now and have a good name across the county. The trustees and patrons are working towards securing funding.'

She added the project was in a 'strong position' because it owned the land and building on Old Station Way outright and had strong community support through donations.


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Mrs Alford originally thought she would only be able to run the base from a shed, but after individuals and businesses rallied round, the empty plot of land on Old Station Way was bought for £30,000 in 2001.

The project opened in 2004 and started out running a parent toddler group and social hub for teenagers.

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Before the Lottery grant, it received £56,000 from North Norfolk District Council which paid for two part-time youth workers for 18 months.

The £388,700 fund was awarded in January 2010 and lasts until December this year.

It paid for two part-time youth workers, a full-time youth worker, a part-time administrator and Mrs Alford's full-time post.

There are about 25 adult volunteers who - alongside staff - help with two young carers' groups, after school social hub sessions for youngsters, and the Achieving, Confidence and Training (ACT) programme.

ACT, partly funded by Victory Housing Trust and local schools and colleges, helps people aged between 14-25 learn numeracy, IT and practical life skills in conjunction with schools or at the youth project.

'We have evolved into doing different work that we never intended to do in the beginning. The social hubs give young people an identity, a sense of ownership and stop anti-social behaviour,' Mrs Alford added.

The groups support six-year-olds to 25-year-olds and about 200 people benefit from the project.

Mrs Alford said: 'It is all about equipping young people and giving them positive life experiences.'

The volunteers and staff are looking to develop an 'out and about' scheme showing young people different job opportunities; expand their work with families through a 24/7 phone line; and start teaching outdoor survival skills.

Anyone who wants to be a volunteer should call 01263 01263 710918 or visit www.holtyouthproject.org.uk

Do you know of a community project benefiting young people? Email newsdesk@archant.co.uk

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