Mobile boost for South Norfolk youngsters

YOUNG people living in rural south Norfolk have received a boost after the launch of a mobile service aimed at providing more facilities for youngsters.

A caravanette will be visiting the villages of Pulham St Mary, Pulham Market, Thelveton, Starston, Rushall and Dickleburgh over the next 12 months as part of a project to give teenagers a greater voice in their communities.

The initiative, which is being run by the 6 Vill Youth project, aims to find out what facilities young people want in their villages.

In particular, officials want to know how youngsters would get the most out of the Pennoyer Centre in Pulham St Mary, which opened last year, and their ideas for a new community space at a former doctor's surgery in Pulham Market.

The 'Van' project, which began in Pulham St Mary on Tuesday, was funded by a grant from the Mason Trust and will see the mobile service and two youth workers visiting the six villages one evening a week for the next year.

Helen O'Neill, project coordinator from 6 Vill Youth, which began three years ago from an office in Dickleburgh, said the use of the youth van from Norfolk County Council's children's services was an important step in getting the views of young people in the area.

'We want to get out to the villages and get out to the young people rather than them trekking to us. Young people are bored, but they want to get on and do things. Those living in the rural villages often struggle to get to youth groups and activities as they have no or limited access to transport. By bringing the Van to them, we hope to start making a significant difference to their lives,' she said.

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The mobile youth service will be in the car park of the Pennoyer Centre every Tuesday evening for the next few weeks before moving to Pulham Market where officials want to get people's views on plans to convert a former GP practice between the church and Crown Inn car park into a community facility.

Charlotte Hays, chairman of the Brewhouse management committee, said plans were being drawn up after the parochial church council bought the 1950s building last year.

'This is going to be a small venue to complement the village hall and we want to drive the building as a community and church resource catering particularly for the needs of the young people in the village and a drop in centre for older members of the village.'

'There is nothing for them (young people), and at the moment they congregate where they can find shelter or on the green and it is obvious they need somewhere to go,' she said.

For more information about 6 Vill Youth, email or call 07754 941204.