EXCLUSIVE: 50-year-old youth club forced to shut up shop
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MP Nick Hurd is led through the recreation room at Britwell Youth and Community Centre by centre manager Paula Murphy on a visit last year
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A POPULAR youth club in 'dire straits' has been forced to close its doors for the first time in 50 years due to a lack of funds, provoking fears of increased anti-social behaviour.
The Britwell Youth and Community Project will shut down for the summer from today (Friday) and is at risk of being discontinued if vital cash is not raised by Christmas.
Sean Wright, a trustee, said: "The reality is we are in dire straits. We do our best, but we have got to the stage where we have enough money to sustain us until Christmas and then we will have to close if we don't get some funding and support.
"We have to close after this Friday until September to save some money. It is either that or we close in November.
"This is the first time in history at the club we have had to go to these measures."
The club, which won the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service in 2010, was launched in 1961 and offers activities for youngsters aged eight to 20, three nights a week with an average of 40 to 60 children attending each session.
More than £30,000 a year is needed to run the Wentworth Avenue club, which relies on donations and grants since Slough Borough Council pulled more than £16,000 of funding two years ago.
Mr Wright said: "We are the only club in Slough so we get children from Burnham, Manor Park and other surrounding areas. If we close the crime on the estate is going to go up because if kids have nowhere to go they get up to mischief, misbehaviour and do things they wouldn't do if they have somewhere to go."
He added: "We don't know what to do now. We are in a real difficult position and it's out of our hands. We really need some support and help."
Councillor Pavitar Mann, representing Britwell ward, said: "We are providing, as part of the regeneration plans, a community centre which will have a number of services and we are investing in the park which is geared towards the younger generation.
"Being a ward councillor I would support any services that make a positive impact and would be more than happy to help them explore other funding streams."
To make a donation, call Mr Wright on 07884 301847.