A NEW chapter has begun for a long-running Morpeth youth club following a change in management.
Stobhill Youth Club in Ninth Avenue has been taken over by town centre based Barnabas Safe and Sound.
The club’s management committee agreed to the hand-over after almost a year of negotiations, led by Chairman Peter Farrier.
The small volunteer committee has been struggling to secure the funds needed to support the centre’s valued community work, but was desperate to ensure the future of the club for generations of children and young people in Stobhill and the surrounding area.
Barnabas, with its extensive experience of youth work in the town and registered charity status, was considered the best option for taking on the project.
Barnabas Manager Chris Menzies said: “This has not been an easy decision for the youth club, but it shows vision and pragmatism.
“It is harder and harder for small voluntary groups to attract the resources needed to keep going and this is a big strain on volunteers.
“We have had an association with the ‘boys’ club’ and residents in the Stobhill area for a number of years through our youth work and housing support work. We understand the difficulties the club has faced and we believe we can be a catalyst for change.
“We are pleased to incorporate and welcome the club and its people within our activities because we have a similar ethos and vision, which is ‘to create a community in which young people can thrive’.
“By developing activities with community members that improve health, education and employment opportunities for young people and their families in Stobhill and in Morpeth, we will be making a real difference.”
The youth club was previously known as Morpeth Police Boys Club and was originally located near to the town centre.
It later moved to Stobhill and when the building began to show the effects of wear and tear in the 1990s, its ambitious committee raised the cash for a rebuild, supported by the Northumberland Association of Clubs for Young People.
For the past 15 years it has continued to be managed by a small number of volunteers, who have given countless hours of their own time to serve young people and their community.
Mr Menzies said: “I want to pay tribute to Mr Farrier and Malcolm and Maureen Spiers in particular, who led the club previously.
“Recent consultations have demonstrated that there are many people in the community with skills and enthusiasm who have supported us so far, and we expect that the development of the Stobhill Youth Club into a Youth and Community Centre will continue to be influenced, shaped and sustained by local people.
Barnabas will continue to rely on volunteers.
The transition has been welcomed by partners such as Isos Housing, which has agreed a lease of the club building with Barnabas.