‘Please donate and keep our Swan afloat’

Youngsters taking part in an Easter arts project at the Swan Youth Centre back in 2011
Youngsters taking part in an Easter arts project at the Swan Youth Centre back in 2011

Youth workers at a centre in Berkhamsted are appealing to the community to dig deep and donate vital funds so its doors can stay open.

The Swan Youth Centre offers a safe after-school environment for young people between 12 and 18, but will need an extra £20,000 in charitable funding each year to maintain its current level of service.

Centre co-ordinator Clare Muir said: “The centre is a valuable place for young people to go to socialise with friends and participate in positive activities.”

The centre’s youth workers offer advice about peer pressure, drugs, alcohol and sexual health.

It also provides teens with a chance to take part in various projects and activities, including skateboard coaching, music gigs and art projects.

The centre is open from Monday to Friday, with after school drop ins for all from 3pm to 6pm. There are between 20 to 50 young people using the facility every day.

The centre – which has been open since 2006 – receives occasional grants from the town council and other charitable organisations, but it’s not enough to cover building overheads and the activity costs.

Clare said: “If we don’t manage to get the money we need, we’ll have to downsize what we can offer.

“At the end of the day, we may even have to close. We hope that will never happen. It would leave such a hole in this service for young people.

“We do have a number of people in the local community who donate by direct debit each month, but we’re always trying to increase that number. It would be great if our name was put forward for a local business’s charity of the year.”

The centre is holding a fundraising concert on Saturday, November 9, in the Centenary Hall on Kings Road from 7.30pm to 10.30pm. Tickets are £10 each, or £5 for under 18s. To buy or for more information, call the centre on 01442 384349.