A Community group is calling for better youth facilities.

Didcot Against Austerity is asking new MP David Johnston to help give Didcot youth club, TRAIN, its home back.

TRAIN youth club, is a charity which is there to support young people in the Didcot area and help them make informed choices, avoid risky behaviours and find their way out of difficult situations, and find their own voice.

However, on November 28, 2019 the charity was made homeless, after a survey of its base was carried out by the building’s current landlords - South Oxfordshire District Council (SODC).

The site,118 Broadway, was later deemed unsafe and its windows were boarded up, leaving TRAIN unable to use the building. Since TRAIN have been using the Methodist Church as a temporary office and even in lockdown the charity has been helping young people online.

Read also: Covid-19: Pharmacies warn against stockpiling medicine

Co-convener of Didcot Against Austerity, Marie Walsh believes Didcot deserves better and would like to see the youth club TRAIN move back into its old premises and she is calling on MP David Johnston to help.

She said: “The young people that went there felt comfortable and they felt like it was their own space. This is a good time to be asking young people what they do want, if they are indoors, they have time.”

Brain McNamee is an organiser at TRAIN and does not desire to move the charity back to the old premises as the building is ‘dilapidated’. Instead he would like a new building. He said: “If when SODC redevelop that area it would be amazing to have accommodation there.”

Didcot Against Austerity wrote a letter to David Johnston.

In the letter it states: “Ever since Oxfordshire County Council cut its funding for 21 Youth Centres and the professionally qualified youth workers that staffed them in 2011, there has been very little for young people in towns like Didcot to do except ‘hang out’.”

Read also: Free school meals scam sent to parents during lockdown

The letter continues and later states: “If, like us, you want Didcot to have good community-run youth services again where these needs can be addressed, will you work with us and other organisations to make this happen? Will you publicly state your commitment to ensuring Didcot receives the resources necessary from Government and County Council to provide safe places for Didcot’s young people to meet together, so they can build relationships and develop an awareness of belonging to a community that cares about them?”

David Johnston responded to Didcot Against Austerity and wrote : “Whilst you and I might agree on some of the things that are required, what I firstly want to do is actually hear from young people about what they want and need. Having spent my life working with young people, I’ve met many adults who tell me what young people need despite having very little contact with them – speaking for them rather than to them. Once I’ve done enough of this, I will then take a view about what I think is needed.”

TRAIN is doing everything it can to help its young people during lockdown. Mr McNamee said: “We’re trying to be adaptable and initiative and have been switching to digital platforms, so we are not going to give up on them.”