Youth centre hopes
LITTLEPORT may soon have its own dedicated youth centre if Phil Malkin and his band of volunteers get their way. Mr Malkin, 57, has put in a planning application to convert a former medical centre in Granby Street into a multi-purpose youth centre, compl
LITTLEPORT may soon have its own dedicated youth centre if Phil Malkin and his band of volunteers get their way.
Mr Malkin, 57, has put in a planning application to convert a former medical centre in Granby Street into a multi-purpose youth centre, complete with pool tables and an IT suite, to give youngsters in the area somewhere to spend their evenings.
Between 70 and 80 youngsters already make use of Mr Malkin's youth club at Littleport's scout hut, but now he says the group has outgrown the facilities.
"At the moment, we have to set the youth club up each time and take everything down again," he said. "It would be great if we had somewhere we could just open up for the kids during the evenings."
Mr Malkin has put in an application to modernise the medical centre, and the group of 16 volunteers is hoping the decision will be in its favour.
"We so often hear that youngsters have got nowhere to go, but if you give them somewhere, then that's no longer a valid argument," he said.
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The project is a labour of love for Mr Malkin, who has been involved in youth work for more than 14 years. He has recently introduced a group of youngsters to carpet bowling.
"You might think they would never do that," he said, "but they do and they enjoy it and we are looking at creating a league."
Mr Malkin has already secured some of the financial backing, thanks to the support of local business through Littleport businessman Stephen Layne. He said the next hurdle will be securing the support of the community.
"What we are really looking for are people who can get behind us financially and support what we want to do," he said. "We will be firm with the youngsters who come here and if they do aggravate the neighbours, they will have to go.