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Sheringham youth club threatened with closure after founder says she has "had enough" of disrespectful youngsters and unsupportive parents

PUBLISHED: 08:21 29 November 2017 | UPDATED: 16:20 29 November 2017

Sheringham Youth Zone founder Julie Chalmers. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

Sheringham Youth Zone founder Julie Chalmers. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

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The founder of a Sheringham youth club has claimed that badly behaved youngsters and unsupportive parents have left her feeling too dejected to continue running the facility.

Julie Chalmers, who started Youth Zone at Sheringham community centre four years ago, runs the club with the help of a handful of volunteers.

Up to 80 youngsters aged nine to 16 turn out each week but, after only four parents responded to an appeal for help with a planned Christmas fair, Mrs Chalmers decided she had “had enough”.

“I sent letters out, put it on Facebook, but nothing,” she said. “We run the club voluntarily and we try to raise money for the children, but the majority of the parents just do not support us.”

Mrs Chalmers said that parents’ lack of interest, coupled with youngsters’ “disrespect” had forced her to make the decision to close the club, unless someone else could be found to take over.

“What has really got to me is that a lot of the children throw rubbish on the floor and, if we buy new equipment, they just break it,” she explained. “There are kids who are lovely and they are the ones that keep us coming every week, but some of them just show no appreciation for what we do.”

The club, which was launched in November 2013 with a £500 donation from Tesco and £3,000 start-up cash given by Sheringham town council from funds left over from the town’s old youth centre in Cromer Road, runs activities for members ranging from cooking to crafts.

Volunteers also lay on discos and talent shows, with the club hosting talks and workshops run by local artists and craftspeople and encouraging youngsters to support community projects.

“We do a lot for them,” Mrs Chalmers said. “I’m probably the children’s biggest advocate in Sheringham, but it has just got too much and, unless someone else is willing to take over, we will have to close the club.”

Anyone willing to take over the running of Sheringham Youth Zone, which meets at the community centre in Holt Road on Fridays from 6-9pm, can contact Mrs Chalmers by emailing sheringhamyouthzone@aol.com or by phoning 07772 737862.

The club will be running a Christmas fair with games, stalls, refreshments and a visit from Father Christmas at the community centre on Sunday from 10am-2pm.

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