Youth centre nets six-figure ‘miracle’ boost

Rycroft youth centre has received a grant of over �200,000 over the next five years.
pictured with Youth and Community Coordinator Eleanor Bradbury are centre users Katie Silcock, Corinne Silcock, Kevin Silcock and Daniel Bradley

Rycroft youth centre has received a grant of over �200,000 over the next five years. pictured with Youth and Community Coordinator Eleanor Bradbury are centre users Katie Silcock, Corinne Silcock, Kevin Silcock and Daniel Bradley

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The future of a youth centre has been secured thanks to a “miracle” six-figure lottery funding boost.

Rycroft Youth Centre has been awarded a grant of £281,000 during the next five years from the Big Lottery fund.

The centre can now continue to provide a base for youngsters in Havercroft and Ryhill.

Eleanor Bradbury, who has been working as a Youth and Community Coordinator at the centre since 2011, is one of those to benefit.

Part of the grant ensures that she and a part-time worker can continue to be employed, but she admits the news came as a surprise.

She said: “I was gobsmacked when I heard.

“It’s really hard to get funding of this kind and the youth club is constantly under threat.

“It’s a miracle really as we’ve been trying for years to get it sustainable and this is just what we need.”

The centre originally closed in 2006 but was started up again in 2010 and has been running ever since.

It caters for youngsters aged eight and over, with the centre open three nights a week offering a range of activities.

Eleanor says that the grant is of even greater significance given the shortage of facilities in the area for youngsters.

She added: “Everything that caters for young people has basically been shut around here.

“The transport links are terrible and so it’s hard to get out and the buses stop running at certain times.

“There’s certainly more of a need for a place like this in this area.

“We offer a diversion to crime and we get people off the streets.

“We are also a place where people can come and talk to people, in confidence.”

Ward Richards, chair of Rycroft Leisure which runs the youth centre and accompanying sports bar, says the challenge to keep the facility open will always be a “battle”.

He said: “It’s very important to the area because we are situated six miles from the centre of Wakefield and six miles from the centre of Barnsley.

“It’s a challenge to raise funding, and it’s an ongoing battle, but this is a great example of community involvement.

The centre last week launched its Youth Aspire project, which aims to increase participation among youngsters in the area and has certain targets that the group aim to achieve.