A YOUTH centre set up to support teenagers in a market town has won a £106,691 grant to expand its services.

Thirsk Clock has been a major success since it opened in September last year, with youngsters flocking to the building to take advantage of the cafe, Internet suite, lounge and games room.

Now the centre is planning to widen its age range to 11 to 19-year-olds, and to open on more evenings and weekends thanks to the grant, which has come from the Big Lottery Fund.

The centre offers young people one-to-one support, group work projects and basic skills courses in order to raise their confidence.

The aim is to enable them to deal with the difficulties of growing up and provide advice on the choices and opportunities available.

Project manager Abigail Homer McGhie said: "Being awarded the Big Lottery Fund grant is fantastic news. Our first year has been both extremely busy and exciting. The grant will allow us to develop and meet the needs of young people."

The centre was developed through close consultation with young people in Thirsk. They identified a need for a meeting place where they could access information, guidance and advice in a non-threatening environment.

Anne Dawson, regional manager for the Big Lottery Fund, said: "We are delighted to award this grant to Thirsk Clock.

"The committee was particularly impressed by the way in which young people have been involved in the identification of services that they felt were most needed in the community to address their needs."

She added that the project was also helping to tackle problems associated with rural isolation, such as poor public transport, by providing access to a wide variety of services.

In total, 15 organisations in the Yorkshire and Humber area have been awarded £1.7m in the latest round of grants.

Scarborough and Ryedale Mind, a charity supporting people with mental health problems, received £66,175.

Service manager Julie Nichol said workers were absolutely delighted with the grant, which will be used to pay the salaries of a project co-ordinator and administration assistant, and to fund more information for people with mental health problems in the area.