Children to be urged to put phones away at new Horbury youth club

Les Clarke, from the Salvation Army, and local councillor Gill Cruise, who are both setting up the new community hub.
Les Clarke, from the Salvation Army, and local councillor Gill Cruise, who are both setting up the new community hub.

A new youth club where kids will be encouraged to put their phones away is to set to start in the new year.

The old Salvation Army building in Horbury, which has been left empty for much of the last two years, is set to be converted into a space for youngsters to come and socialise after school and in the holidays.

The hut building has been empty for much of the last two years, but is now set to be brightened up.

The hut building has been empty for much of the last two years, but is now set to be brightened up.

The project is being made possible with the help of an £85,000 government grant and is being led by local councillor Gill Cruise and Les Clarke, from the Salvation Army.

The club will provide a mixture of structured activities and freedom for children to enjoy a game of pool, watch films, use the internet and relax.

There will also be cookery sessions and a noticeboard with information about where to get support for issues such as mental health problems.

And while there won't be an outright ban on phones some days of the week, Coun Cruise said youngsters would be urged to leave them in lockers at other times, to encourage them to socialise.

She said: "I think it's really important that we get them over that anxiety and get them talking to each other.

"We're going to try to help them realise that nothing bad's going to happen if they don't have their phone for a few hours.

"We're not proposing to do it when there's a structured activity, but during free social time when we have a game or a quiz or whatever, we'll say, "Come on, put your phones away."

"The club itself won't be regimented, it will be relaxed.

"We just want to give them a friendly space - somewhere where they can enjoy coming after school.

"Regardless of their sexuality or religion everyone is welcome - it will be all inclusive."

During the day, the hut will become a community hub, open to local groups to make use of it.

But once a youth club, one of the building's inside walls will become a designated 'graffiti' wall, giving young members a space to experiment with art.

And the children will be encouraged to help fundraise to help make the club sustainable, in a bid to give them a sense of ownership of their own place.

Mr Clarke said: "We want to work alongside other services that are already in place in Horbury.

"We want the children to own the space themselves so that, with a bit of guidance and support, they can feel like they've achieved something."

Local Democracy Reporting Service