Council getting its skates on for youth services

A new youth projects co-ordinator has been appointed to press the accelerator on services in a Shropshire town.

Andy Stelman and Christine Perkins at the new shelter
Andy Stelman and Christine Perkins at the new shelter

Christine Perkins took up her new role just a few weeks ago and is already getting out and about in the community of Bishop's Castle making connections.

Bishop's Castle Town Council is working in partnership with the South Shropshire Youth Forum and recently won an £18,000 grant from Severn Trent Water’s Community Fund to help create a youth club and a drop-in for older teenagers to the area.

Employed by the South Shropshire Youth Forum, Christine's appointment marks a step change in the town's efforts.

Councillor Andy Stelman, who has been leading on the project for the town council, said: "We have taken the stabilisers off the bike now.

"Hopefully in the not too distant future we will have something up and running for the kids at the end of June."

Mr Stelman says he is confident that they will be able to announce the new premises soon.

He added that a community space at the renovated former Stars newsagent in the town centre has not been identified for a drop in centre.

A part of the new project co-ordinator's job is to find out what youth provision is needed and to seek volunteer support. The youth club will be for structured activities while the drop in will be non-structured and a safe space for older young people to feel relaxed.

Mr Stelman added: "I haven't worked with young people for 40 years and I have tended to be the lead on this - it will be nice to let go."

Mr Stelman is also involved with the town's foodbank, which is also looking for new premises. He is confident on making progress there, too.

Among the council's growing list of achievements is the installation of a red shelter in the town’s skate park, after young people said they would like a place to sit down.

The town council chipped in £6,000 for the structure which was created by local metalworker Matt Maddox after young people approved the design.

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