Parents and youth workers are appealing for cash and volunteers to help get Islesburgh Youth Club off the ground again.
The club is due to re-start on a limited basis on Wednesday 16th April after a council cost-cutting exercise saw two-thirds of the club’s part-time youth workers paid off last weekend.
However, the club will be reduced to one night a week – normally Wednesday – with primary and junior youth clubs running consecutively with two supervising youth workers backed by parent volunteers.
The primary four to seven junior club will run from 6.30pm to 8pm while the seniors – secondary one and over – will be 8pm till 9.30pm.
Normally around 45 children attend the club, but that number can swell to more than 60 on Fridays. Guidelines say that each youth worker should supervise a maximum of 15 bairns. Meanwhile a “peerie” club for primary threes and under has ceased to exist altogether.
The club, which formed a new management committee in February, is also searching for money after a £1,400 grant bid was unexpectedly turned down by the SIC. Islesburgh is now, committee members claim, the sole youth club in Shetland to be running only one-night-per-week and the only one to have been turned down for grant funding.
Chairwoman Nicola Stove said that the club had been misled regarding the grant application: the bid was rejected on the grounds of coming from a new committee in a “transition year”, when the club says it had formed the committee on the back of council advice.
“We were led to believe that there would be no problem with the grant,” she said. “We have the biggest club with the most bairns but we are not getting any support.”
Islesburgh had been among the last of the youth clubs to lose SIC funding with the result it was also the last to set up a new management committee. This had the knock-on effect, Ms Stove claimed, of leaving it too late to access grant funding.
The rejection also left the club without time to apply to the Big Lottery and other funding sources before the youth workers were paid off.
As a result, the committee has been left scraping for funds, but the council has agreed to pay for the hire of Islesburgh until August. Ms Stove meanwhile has paid for membership of Youth Scotland out of her own pocket while treasurer Tommy Williamson has set up an account with JW Grays for the tuckshop.
There are also various bids for funding being made to local businesses while it is proposed to charge an attendance fee of £1 for the youth club, with a proposed annual membership of £10 for children of volunteers and £20 for children of non-volunteers. The membership for families of two or more children has been capped at £20.
Any parent who wants to volunteer can get a registration form from Mr Williamson who can be contacted on tommy firstname.lastname@example.org or (01595) 690784.