Posted on 2nd August 2013
A volunteer group that offers young people in Chapel-en-le-Frith a safe place to meet and socialise has been given £600 by police to cover its running costs.
The project is based at Chapel Youth Centre, in High Street, and is well-attended by local people aged from early teens up to 20.
It offers them an alternative place to gather instead of on the streets and the volunteers are on hand to offer them support and an opportunity to discuss a wide variety of topics.
The group has been attended by more than 70 different youngsters since it started nine months ago and has helped cut anti-social behaviour issues in the area.
Organisers are now hosting another mid-week group and plan to start running music and drama sessions after expressions of interest from young people who attend.
A cheque for £600 has now been handed over by PCSO Karen Green, from Chapel Safer Neighbourhood Team, under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
Sam Fentem, who runs the group every Sunday evening along with volunteers from the Revival Church in New Mills, said the cash would help secure the service for at least another six months.
He said: “What we try to offer here is a place for young people to go who would otherwise be hanging around in parks or on the streets and could get involved in drug taking, anti-social behaviour or crime.
“The response we’ve had has been fantastic and some of our volunteers have similar life experiences to them, which helps the young people relate to us and get more from the youth group.
“The running costs such as the hire of the youth centre will be covered by the donation and we are extremely grateful – it will allow us to carry on offering a supportive service and safe environment for local teenagers and young adults.”
The group, which meets every Sunday from 7pm to 8.30pm, is free to attend and offers free tea, coffee, cake and other refreshments.
The Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) means anyone who profits from crime can lose the financial and lifestyle gains they have enjoyed.
Police can apply to the courts to have cash or other ill-gotten assets seized and sold, and use the money generated to pay compensation to victims of crime.
In recent months, cash recovered under the Act has gone to several community groups and organisations across Derbyshire.
These include Jericho Café, in Glossop, which used it to purchase a community computer for its customers. Matlock’s ShopWatch radio scheme also received some cash and has used it to buy new and replacement radio kit, and Bradwell Youth Club received £500 to cover its running expenses.
Karen said: “We have seen first hand how much of a positive impact the group has on young people and that is something we were really keen to support.
“Offering a sheltered and supportive place for them to gather and to get useful, relevant and honest advice from people with similar experiences has been fantastic for them.”
To find out more, call Chapel and Chinley Safer Neighbourhood Team on 101 or ring the Revival Church on 01663 741112.