Grants boost for town youth club

A Boathouse Youth canal boating trip on the Shropshire Union Canal. Below: Laurance Hancock, general manager of the club.

A Boathouse Youth canal boating trip on the Shropshire Union Canal. Below: Laurance Hancock, general manager of the club.

Bosses at a Blackpool youth club are celebrating after being handed a £70,000 boost to help youngsters in a deprived part of the resort.

The Boathouse Youth Club first formed in 2010 – and it is now taking in hundreds of young people a night.

In May the group left the cramped St Peter’s Church Hall, on Lytham Road, for a brand new premises a few doors down at the former South Shore library.

Generous builders and parents mucked in to revamp the building, which has now seen the home open its doors seven nights a weekAnd the club’s success in helping the youngsters, from taking them on canal boating trips to educating them on the dangers of alcohol, has made groups with money to donate stand up and take notice.

Now five groups have awarded the Boathouse Youth club a combined £70,000.

It was handed £30,000 from the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation to employ a part-time worker while Wooden Spoon, a rugby society, awarded the club £20,000 to complete phase two of a major revamp at their centre on Lytham Road.

Laurance Hancock, general manager of the club, said: “When we became a registered charity last August we had a strong board of trustees and there was no doubt about the quality of what we deliver.

“We will be able to complete the renovations of centre which is brilliant news.

“Finishing off the centre is big and so is being able to employ another member of staff.

“With every piece of funding we get different levels of support and advice so it’s great to have five groups because we have support from every single project in their own right.

“There are big groups out there that are prepared to support us and that’s given us a great boost.”

The Queendeans Association, based at the Queens Hotel, on South Promenade, has donated £7,500 to help the group take 90 youngsters on three canal boating trips.

David Brennand, treasurer of the group, explained the reasons for backing the youth club.

He said: “We were impressed with Laurance and his team of volunteers and what they achieve in South Shore to give children something to do.

“It takes them off the streets and they get a lot of benefits from the work they do in the community.

“The ethos of the Queendeans Association is to help worthy causes on the Fylde coast and we thought this was a good use of our money.

“They all get team building skills from the canal boating experience and get the chance to live in a close environment with their friends from the youth club.”

Coun John Jones, Bloomfield ward councillor for Blackpool Council, said: “The area is very deprived and the work the club is doing is excellent and it needs to continue.

“The fact they have got this money is good news and they need to carry on their good work.

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