Memorial space for lost young friends

The Shed provides a safe place for youngsters and helps steer them in the right direction.
The Shed provides a safe place for youngsters and helps steer them in the right direction.

Youth centre volunteers are raising funds to create a memorial garden so young people have a place to go to remember friends they have lost.

The Shed, based at Carlton Road in South Elmsall, provides a safe place for youngsters aged eight to 16 to socialise and take part in activities.

Some of the facility’s 150 plus members approached its team of volunteers last year to see if a dedicated space could be created for local youngsters who had lost their lives.

And a fundraising drive has been launched to create the outdoor reflection area, which will include decking, benches and a graffiti mural, designed with ideas from the teens.

Donna Lamb, a senior youth worker at the centre, said: “The reflection area will be a space where the kids can go to think about their friends who have died and remember all the young lives that have been lost in our communities.”

She added: “Working with the young people of The Shed we recognise how hard these tragic losses have hit them.”

The Shed, which has been in operation for more than a decade, runs a youth club every Tuesday night from 7pm until 9pm.

Mrs Lamb, who has volunteered for around eight years, said: “We provide a safe place for young people to meet.

“We try to steer them in the right direction and keep them out of trouble.”

An average of 40 young people attend each week to take part in activities including pool, air hockey, movie nights, sports and computer games, at a cost of £1 to enter.

Volunteers also run trips including an annual camping holiday as well as days out to local bowling alleys and activity centres.

Mrs Lamb said: “There’s not much for young people to do in the area that’s affordable.

“You hear about them hanging out outside supermarkets and I just think rather than people slating them, think about giving them something to do.”

Mrs Lamb said The Shed’s facilities had recently been revamped after the centre received a £4,000 grant from the West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner.

Some of the money will also be used for community initiatives such as litter picking.

To donate to the memorial reflection project, visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/theshed