Mile Cross’ Urban Youth Project in bid to expand

A Norwich youth group is bidding for a �250,000 lottery grant to help it expand and give local teenagers somewhere to go in the evenings.

Urban Youth Project, which is held twice a week in the Phoenix Centre in Mile Cross, reaches 50 young people aged 11 to 18 and, 18 months after it started, is full.

But since Norfolk County Council scrapped its youth service last year, the nine volunteers that run it have noticed a growing need for activities for local teenagers.

Now the project wants to expand so it can open five evenings a week, offer holiday clubs, and give volunteers and youngsters the chance to work towards a wider range of qualifications. The group wants to place a particular emphasis on 14 to 18-year-olds who they feel are most in need.

Anita Beckett, co-ordinator of the Urban Youth Project, said: 'In Norfolk there has been a massive dip in positive activities for young people. I'm not going to condemn the cutting of the youth service but it makes people think in a much more entrepreneurial way.'

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The need for more youth groups has encouraged the volunteers to begin putting together a bid for a �250,000 lottery grant.

The money would help the project run on more days, look at additional venues, and create three paid jobs to help manage it.

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'We can't recruit any more volunteers. We can't take on 20 or 30 people for a project like this without having someone to manage them,' said Mrs Beckett, a full time youth worker.

To support its bid for the money, the Urban Youth Project needs to create a board of trustees and would like to hear from anyone willing to get involved.

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