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Save Our Swan! Teens rally to protect centre

Youngsters at the Swan Youth Centre are helping coordinator Clare Muir raise funds to keep it open.

Youngsters at the Swan Youth Centre are helping coordinator Clare Muir raise funds to keep it open.

A popular youth club is at risk of closure as funding becomes increasingly hard to come by.

Berkhamsted High Street’s Swan Youth Centre has more than 340 current members and has had 8,000 youngsters come through its doors in the past year.

It gives 12 to 18-year-olds somewhere safe to go after school.

Experienced staff are on-hand to give them information and support on a range of issues, helping them make positive life choices during daily drop-in sessions.

But it has come under threat of closure as cutbacks make it harder and harder for the centre to find the funding it needs.

Member Scott Theobald, 17, set up a Twitter account called Save The Swan the moment he heard about the centre’s difficulties.

It already has almost 100 followers despite being set up less than a week ago.

Scott said: “The Swan needs your help… our funding is being cut! Please follow us and help show Dacorum Borough Council how important this centre is to our kids!

“The Swan has successfully delivered to the young people of Berkhamsted and the surrounding villages a safe, alcohol and drug-free environment.”

The centre aims to help young people develop life skills, improve their personal well-being and have a positive impact on their community.

Seb Stafford-Edwards, 14, said: “The Swan is like a second home for me. I enjoy the company of the staff as well as my peers and I come here almost every day after school.

“The Swan Youth Centre offers a lovely atmosphere and a healthy, friendly environment.”

Megan Bristow, 15, said: “I can talk to staff openly about any issues that affect me.

“There are very few places like the Swan, which you can go to and feel totally safe.”

You can support the Swan by nominating it as your company’s charity of the year, volunteering your time to help fundraise for it, making a one-off or monthly donation, becoming a trustee, or hiring it out for social functions.

Centre coordinator Clare Muir said: “I feel that it is vital that the community in which we live makes adequate and suitable provision for young people to enable them to grow and develop into positive members of our community.

“There is no statutory provision for young people in the town and the local authorities fail to invest sufficient funds to enable such provision to be fully met and we are constantly seeking charitable support in order to maintain a decent level of service.”

For more information, or to offer the Swan your support, phone Clare on 01442 384349 or email her at clare.muir@swanyouthproject.com

 

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