4:00pm Friday 16th November 2012
By Tom Jennings
TWO Bampton residents hope to reopen the village youth centre to give youngsters a safe and secure meeting place.
The building, in Church View, was closed for a refit in December last year by Oxfordshire County Council but never reopened after budget cuts.
County Hall slashed cash to 21 youth centres across Oxfordshire, including Bampton, and instead funded central hubs in towns including Witney.
Residents Sarah Constable and Amanda Townsend now hope to reopen the youth club.
They held a launch event at Old School Community Centre on Wednesday to start fundraising for equipment and encouraging volunteers.
Miss Constable, 33, said: “There has been nothing for the young people in Bampton to go to since the youth centre closed.
“The youth centre was so important to me when I was their age and I wanted to try to give back somewhere for the young people to go.”
The organisers have already teamed up with the Oxfordshire Association for Young People and plan to open the club every Wednesday evening.
It will run from 6pm to 7.30pm for eight to 12 year olds and 8pm to 9.30pm for youngsters aged 13 to 17.
Miss Constable said: “We wanted to get the parents and children in there to get some fundraising suggestions and to see how they would like the club run.
“We also need to get volunteers — we cannot do it on our own.”
She said the club currently had no funds and no equipment, adding: “We are going to open the doors with nothing and do what we can from there.
“I just want it to be an ongoing safe and secure place for the children of Bampton to go on a regular basis so they can build up friendships. They are missing out at the moment.”
Bampton teenager Hayley Wheeler, 17, said: “Not having a youth club in Bampton is quite depressing. It would mean so much for us to have a youth club up and running because it will be somewhere where we are actually allowed to go and hang out.”
Regan Pritchard, eight, from Bampton, said: “It is sad not having a youth club – there is nothing else to do.”
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