Spike in young people using rural youth centre following popular sports project

MORE than 100 young people have remained engaged with a rural youth centre following the success of a sports project funded by a local housebuilder.

Genesis Homes granted The Phoenix Youth Project a total of £2,302.82 to purchase equipment and run a two-month sports and outreach project in the West Cumbrian village of Frizington earlier this year, with a total of 61 young people aged between eight and 19 taking part.

The project provided the perfect opportunity for the Phoenix team to inform local youngsters about its recently refurbished, £500,000 base at Frizington Youth and Community Centre – and the success of the initiative has resulted in a substantial increase of young people attending the weekly sessions held there.

The community turned out in force for the reopening of The Phoenix Youth Project’s Frizington base.

The centre was closed during the refurbishment for almost a year and, in its temporary home during this period, the numbers of teenagers attending dropped significantly to just four teenagers, although the younger group maintained strong numbers. 

However, since its reopening in July, around 30 teenagers now attend on a regular basis and 112 different young people across the full age range have attended sessions organised by the Phoenix team.

Paul Rowe, Project Manager at Phoenix Youth Project, said: “The centre was closed for a year while it was refurbished, and we needed to re-engage and build a rapport with the local young people.

“Frizington is a small community in a very rural location with poor access to other areas, so providing the sports activities was great fun for the young people and it’s always good to provide activities which promote health and wellbeing.

“What was crucial to us at this point was increasing our reach and reconnecting with young people to tell them about our newly refurbished building because we didn’t want to have this amazing new, half a million pound centre and only four teenagers attended.

“We have this amazing facility and the numbers we are now getting are great, and the funding from Genesis Homes was key to this because we would have only had a handful of young people attend if we weren’t able to reach out for them through this project.”

Phoenix Youth Project, based in Cleator Moor, runs three weekly sessions in Frizington for young people aged between 13 and 19 and two sessions for those aged between eight and 12.

Frizington Youth and Community Centre was reopened in July following the major refurbishment, funded through a grant from the Decommissioning Delivery Partnership as well as support from Sellafield.

Nicky Gordon, the Managing Director of Genesis Homes, said: “We are passionate about supporting local communities and we were delighted to assist Phoenix Youth Project with the amazing work it does for young people in West Cumbria.

“The services the organisation provides for young people to keep them entertained, engaged and fit and healthy are excellent, and to hear how successful the centre has become as a result of the sports project is amazing.”

Phoenix Youth Project received the grant from Genesis Homes through the housebuilder’s £20,000 fund made available through Cumbria Community Foundation.

Other initiatives supported by Genesis Homes were: nursery equipment for Shap School (£2,000), Carer Support South Lakes’ volunteer sitting service (£2,000), Cumbria Development Education Centre’s Climate Leaders programme (£6,000), a new bus shelter in Kirkbarrow (£2,074), Centre for Leadership Performance’s Bright Stars programme (£2,000), Churches Together Penrith’s befriending service (£811.50) and improvements to facilities at Brewery Arts (£811.50).

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