Youngsters cash in on £1m
STEVE DOWNES A seven-figure pot of cash has been dipped into to fund more than 500 projects set up by young people around Norfolk. But more teenagers need to come forward with schemes - or else £500,000 willl go back to the government unspent.
A seven-figure pot of cash has been dipped into to fund more than 500 projects set up by young people around Norfolk.
But more teenagers need to come forward with schemes - or else £500,000 willl go back to the government unspent.
The Norfolk Youth Fund was set up exactly one year ago, with teenagers given the responsibility of divvying out £1.57m for innovative schemes run by their peers.
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In the first 12 months of the two-year pilot project, almost £1m has been distributed to fund 522 projects, including:
t A youth-run organic allotment in Norwich
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t New wheelchairs for a Norwich-based wheelchair basketball team
t A kit for a youth football team in King's Lynn
t A £33,000 scheme to convert a double-decker bus into a meeting place for young people in North Norfolk
t A £47,000 multi-sports court at Tilney St Lawrence, near King's Lynn.
The handouts were decided by a board of teenagers, headed by chairman Jessica Fullwood-Thomas.
She said: “The Norfolk Youth Fund has been an amazingly successful initiative, which has produced a fantastic range of new facilities for the youth of Norfolk.
“It has been instrumental in providing new social areas, sports facilities and services such as counselling for the young people and I am particularly proud of the grants to rural and deprived areas - giving young people in remote and under-developed areas new activities and facilities.”
She added: “By playing a key role in decision making, young people gain new leadership skills and learn about managing and distributing money.”
The fund is a first for Norfolk, and for the country. The government has never before given such a significant sum of money for young people to allocate and spend.
In North Norfolk, 16-year-old Rebecca Brine successfully bid for £33,000 to convert a second-hand bus into a meeting place for young people.
The bus, which will be run by the Benjamin Foundation, has been gutted and kitted out with state-of-the-art equipment, including computers, DVD players, sound systems and a lounge and kitchen.
Six young people in Tilney St Lawrence put together a successful bid for £47,000 to build a multi-sports court to combat school holiday boredom and keep young people off the streets.
The court, which comprises football, basketball and netball facilities, is for the use of up to 700 youths from Tilney St Lawrence and surrounding villages.
Rosalie Monbiot, Norfolk County Council's cabinet member for children's services, said: “I hope that young people across Norfolk continue to come up with ideas for grants. If the money isn't spent by the end of March, it goes back to the government and young people in Norfolk would miss out.”
t Just over £500,000 is still to be allocated by the end of March 2008, and young people between 13 and 19 can get an application form from schools, college and youth groups, via www.norfolkblurb.co.uk or by calling 01603 222639.