Funding boost likely for successful Cockfield youth project

First published in News by , Reporter (Barnard Castle & Teesdale)

A SUCCESSFUL youth project is looking forward to a happy new year thanks to the prospect of more cash to enable it to continue for another 12 months.

Teesdale YMCA established a trio of weekly youth sessions, in Cockfield, in February which are run in conjunction with Groundwork North-East.

A girls' group meets on a Monday, there is a youth drop-in on a Wednesday and a project night on Thursdays.

The sessions were set up with the help of money from the Teesdale Action Partnership (TAP) and board members are expected to approve a further £8,500 towards the total annual running costs of £12,500 to enable the project to continue throughout 2013.

However, members of the TAP's children and young people's task group said they could not be expected to keep “propping up” the project in future years.

Chairman Mike Bettison said: “I do support it, but I have a little niggle – are we being a little bit of an elastoplast for the youth service?”

Keith Jones, senior area youth worker for South Durham, said there was a question mark over the future of funding for projects such as that in Cockfield.

“I would imagine that cuts are going to start hitting front line delivery. We don't know what next year's figures are going to be for generic youth work,” he said.

Kevin Wake, chief executive of Teesdale YMCA, said about 70 youngsters were attending the various sessions in Cockfield.

“Part of the YMCA's role is to respond to the needs of the community it serves,” he said.

“This project has come directly from the young people of Teesdale. They have seen the real, positive impact of the project in Barnard Castle and have requested us to deliver it in isolated rural areas lacking the necessary transport links to make services accessible.

“The young people of the area have very little support; there is a major drug and alcohol problem and a huge lack of opportunities.

“These factors have influenced the YMCA's decision to try to tackle the problem at the source,” said Kevin.

“We aim to engage with the young people, giving them opportunities of self-improvement in life skills, training, health and well-being and build emotional and self-confidence.

“With the TAP's support, we hope to build on the service in 2013 and give the young people of the area provision to be proud of.”

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