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Melksham youth charity receives £250,000 from the National Lottery

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A COMMUNITY youth organisation in Melksham has been awarded £250,000 from the National Lottery Community Fund, to fund the next five years of support.

4Youth (South West), based in the Canberra Centre on Spa Road, supports young people in Melksham and surrounding locations, challenging them to be the best they can be, and supports them to develop confidence, resilience, and relationship skills through a counselling service, youth clubs, and street-engagement work.

The money will be used to increase the service provision.

Chair of trustees of the charity, Jon Hubbard said, “The funding is wonderful and will give us the chance to professionalise the service and increase the provision. It will enable the charity to fund a new Headstrong youth club, employ additional counsellors to support the increasing need, and enable more capacity, and will give us the opportunity to recruit a youth development manager to help us expand.

“A massive pat on the back to the whole team, we are really chuffed. This money is of significant value and testament must go to every single member. It has been quite the journey and taken about 12 months to apply for. Huge credit must go to Bryan Clover for leading the application. It has taken hundreds of hours of work.”

Weekly youth clubs are held on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays and for all youngsters in school years aged five to nine years old, and upwards. A Headstrong youth club is held every Monday evening at the Canberra Centre, specifically for any young person who has been through therapy or mental health service to receive additional support; there is also a No Limits Monday youth club at 6.30pm to 9pm at the Atworth centre, for young people aged 13 to 25 years old, with special education needs (SEND) to get more support. Carers are also welcome. A counselling service called Teen Talk is also provided, whereby the team carry out street work, going out to places where the young people are.

Jon said, “Last year we saw fewer young people coming into the service as an impact of Covid. Now, we are back up to pre-Covid levels of the amount of young people we support.

“Last year, 168 young people were supported in Atworth; 187 in Westbury; 690 in Canberra; and 122 young people in Melksham were supported through the street-based work.

“In 2022, there were 94 new young people that were referred into the counselling service. For six months of this year, the waiting list was closed because there were not enough counsellors to meet the need and we did not want to force the young people to have to wait around five to six months or take them on just to make the numbers up. That is just unacceptable. Now, the waiting list is back open and people are seen within two to three weeks. The turnaround is much quicker.”

For more information about 4 Youth and its services visit the website, https://4youth.org.uk/ or ring 01225 667327.

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