Courtesy of Swindon Advertiser:
A VILLAGE youth club hit with closure fears in the summer has been named as the most successful club in Wiltshire this year.
The South Marston Youth Club, which is held every other Monday and Friday, for children aged eight to 11 and 12 to 16, has won the Youth Action Wiltshire Chairman’s Cup 2012.
The success was an extra special achievement for the club after a recent appeal for adult volunteers to help keep the Monday youth group running failed to attract any interest.
But the club, which was set up back in 2007 by husband and wife team Julie and Steve Hatherall, has continued thanks to the dedication of the couple.
Youth club co-ordinator Julie said: “I used to run the club on a Friday and my husband did the Monday club but his work commitments meant he had to work evenings so we needed someone to take his place.
“We were struggling to find someone to do it regularly, we put out lots of messages for people to take over but we couldn’t find anyone so I decided to take it on as well as Fridays, so we do still need the help but I will continue to do it temporarily.
“It’s important to me because there is nothing else for the children to do in the village and it would be such a shame if it had to close because of the adults. The children come regularly and they love it. We set the club up and we want it to succeed, we don’t want to close it.
“Volunteers don’t need any experience really, we didn’t have any when we set it up, you just need to be there to make sure the kids are playing safely.”
The club is held at the village hall and attracts about 25 children who take part in a variety of activities from table tennis, darts, rounders, arts and crafts as well as Nintendo Wii games.
Julie, whose two sons Brody, nine, and Ethan, 13, both attend, said she was delighted to receive the award after a difficult summer.
“We were so delighted, it was such a surprise. We had got a bit despondent, our morale had got a bit low so it cheered us up to receive the award and be told we are doing a good job and we are appreciated,” said Julie.
“We took some of our youth club members with us to Devizes to receive the award and they thought it was great, and so do all the parents who all support us in their own way with volunteering some of their own time.”
The award was presented to the club in recognition of their ‘ever growing popularity in the village and their commitment to giving the best possible youth club experience’.
If you can help the club with organising the tuck shop, setting up and packing away and overseeing activities, contact Julie or Steve at firstname.lastname@example.org or 07923 441 296.