Youth service hand-over

YOUTH services in Stobhill are set to be handed over to a Morpeth charity in a bid to boost provision.

The Barnabas Safe and Sound project is in talks to take on the management of Stobhill Youth Club, with a deal expected to be completed next month.

The Stobhill volunteer committee would have to agree to the move and negotiations are taking place with landlord Isos Housing to draw up a new lease.

But Barnabas already has a close working relationship with the centre and it is hoped that its involvement will help provide a more stable future.

Barnabas Chief Executive Chris Menzies said: “Over a number of years the committee of volunteers has been trying to run the centre, but it is struggling because the climate is such that smaller voluntary organisations are finding it difficult to access funds.

“There has been a demand from the county council that the centre should be made available for activities more frequently and there is a need for a bigger organisation to step in to try to make that happen.

“Barnabas is an organisation with similar aims and objectives to the youth club and we have quite a good relationship with people on the committee and the young people, who we have worked with in the Stobhill area over the years.

“We see this as an opportunity to get some new investment into the centre and we are working with partners like Northumberland Clubs for Young People to develop a programme called Street Games to work with young people and get volunteers in as well.”

The youth club serves as a base for various activities for children and teenagers, but it is also used by a number of other groups for leisure sessions.

Mr Menzies said it is important that it continues to serve the community.

“At the moment it is used by several existing community groups or private people who run things like kick-boxing and we would want to make sure that people who are already using the building continue to be accommodated and their activities are supported to develop,” he said.

A drop-in will be held at the centre on Saturday for members of the community to meet the Barnabas team and discuss the proposals.

Mr Menzies added: “We want to invite people from the Stobhill community and agencies who work with people there to come along and meet our staff and have discussions about what they would like to happen regarding the use of the centre in the future.”

It starts at 10am.