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New club plans for Stafford youngsters

By Kerry Ashdown | Stafford | Staffordshire entertainment | Published:

An event organiser who founded a social club for older residents is now setting her sights on launching a new hangout for young people.

Lorraine Conkey decided to take action after realising there was a lack of places for children and young people to meet up in Stafford.

Before the coronavirus pandemic her Tuesday Mixer Club proved a hit with over 55s, who flocked to the White Eagle Club each week to enjoy bingo, talks from guest speakers and cups of tea.

Another of her events, Stafford Walking Street, is set to return to the town centre on July 9 with measures in place to protect visitors including social distancing and face masks.

And in recent weeks she has also been looking ahead to something to bring together Stafford’s children and teenagers when current measures can be relaxed to allow social gatherings.

Lorraine said: “During the last few weeks talking to various people I realised there is a need to create an across the board youth club for all. We as a community need to step up somehow and make a difference and this seemed a good place to start – the youth.

“I was surprised to realise they had nowhere to go, very few youth centres or places to meet and interact with their peers, extra-curricular activities at the schools no longer exist and in many cases no mentors or role models to communicate with.

Positive

“I have started the ball rolling and called a meeting bringing together like minded individuals who care about the community and its future, wanting to change it for the better. We discussed how and what we want to achieve – a positive safe environment for the local youths with two age groups in mind: 10-13 and 14 -17. We want to call it simply ‘The Club’ with no association with any religious groups or political parties.

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“The project will incorporate all youths from all walks of life in a safe environment. A hang out place with free tea and coffee, so no one is excluded in a relaxed atmosphere.

“Qualified youth workers and mentors from various sectors with a multitude of skill sets, knowledge and experience from performing arts, crafts, music workshops to help and advice experts will be available for them to talk confidentially if they have issues, from bullying to low self esteem and stress, helping with social skills and guided to positive path and good life choices.

“I announced the idea on social media after the meeting and the response was overwhelmingly positive, with many people volunteering their time to help with the project.

“Our biggest issue is to find a town centre venue for the project and how to pay for it – once we find a suitable place it will be full steam ahead. We hope people will come forward to offer help, their time and experience, donate settee and chairs maybe even a pool table.”

Anyone who would like to offer their assistance to the project should email Lorraine at lorraine@lrpartnership.co.uk.

Kerry Ashdown

By Kerry Ashdown

Local Democracy Reporting Service

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