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Jubilee Youth Club Re-opens

Television personality Julie Reinger cuts the ribbon to officially re-open Hethersett Jubilee Youth Club

Hethersett Jubilee Youth Club has officially re-opened its doors.

BBC television personality Julie Reinger was on hand to cut the tape to the re-furbished building. Despite having lost her voice, Julie was able to praise the work undertaken to make massive internal improvements to the building in Back Lane.

“This is an incredible achievement to provide such a facility for young people and something that will be a focal point for the village. It is a tribute to you all that so much has been achieved in so little time,” Julie said, before cutting the tape to allow local people to view the new facilities which include a purpose made store cupboard, new toilets, a new kitchen and entrance area

In welcoming Julie and other guests, committee member Norman Saunders looked back on a hectic year:

“Twelve months ago we launched an appeal to raise £75,000 to refurbish the building. In that short time we have raised over £50,000 and have a building that is now fit for purpose,” he said.

Mr Saunders expressed particular thanks to the Geoffrey Watling Trust which had donated £15,000 towards the target. Geoffrey Watling’s widow Elizabeth was present for the re-opening ceremony.

“We have a unique situation for such a small place. Just across the road we have a superb village hall and now a purpose built youth centre. We hope it will provide a wealth of activities for young people and add to community life,” Mr Saunders said.

Gillian Saunders, acting chairperson for the centre, outlined plans to raise a further £10,000 to put in a new south facing window and improve flooring. She also outlined plans to set up a Friends of the Jubilee Youth Centre group to help raise money to provide equipment and maintain the property.

“We hope by the end of October to have a youth club for 11 to 13 year olds started and then to follow this with a club for those 14 and over. We need volunteers to come forward to help with running the clubs,” she said adding that plans were also well advanced for running after school activities for the 11 plus age group.

Ms Saunders praised the work of former chairman Colin Wilson who has had to step down through ill health but who has accepted the post of honorary president.

Hethersett Methodist Minister the Rev Derek Grimshaw said “Just over a year ago we started to talk about a vision and what we wanted to achieve on a remarkable journey that has not just been about fund-raising. We have seen young people, the churches, councils, the police and the community working together to build something for young people that they will feel at home in and where they can express themselves. Today is not the end of what we wanted to achieve but the beginning.”

Photographs from the opening of Hethersett Jubilee Youth Club. On the right Chairman of Hethersett Parish Council Fred Watkins presents a cheque for £5,000 to youth club acting chair Gillian Saunders

Stella Rice, young people’s champion for South Norfolk Council, spoke of “the huge effort involved in bringing the re-opening to fruition.”

“It is not just going to make a huge difference to young people but it will also be a focal point for the whole village. Some of the parishes in Norfolk provide few or no facilities for young people. Hethersett can be proud of what it has achieved. I know there is still some way to go but where there is a will there is a way,” she said.

During the speeches a cheque for £5,000 was presented on behalf of Hethersett Parish Council by its chairman Mr Fred Watkins There was entertainment from Hethersett Junior School’s steel band and also guitar and woodwind musicians from Hethersett junior and high schools. There was also a cake stall, refreshments and a raffle.

The youth centre has a number of coming fund-raising events which include: October 10th - Bingo evening in the youth club hall at 7 p.m; November (date to be confirmed) a musical evening in the hall; December 4th, a stall at the village Christmas Fayre at Hethersett Methodist Church; January, a ladies post Christmas pamper evening.

Anyone wishing to find out more about the youth club or volunteer to help on club nights can contact Gillian Saunders on 01953 607566