A YOUTH club which has helped keep thousands of children off the streets over the years could be forced to close its doors within two months after losing its funding.
The Base, on Highwoods Road, Mexborough, which supports around 40 children per night, has failed in its bid for cash from Children in Need, leaving the team behind it fearing young people could be drawn into gang trouble.
Youth club founder Jill Jevons said the centre needed to find around £30,000 to remain open after Christmas.
“Where would 40 children go if we close?” she said.
“There is a gang culture and we do have problems in Mexborough. It’s no worse than anywhere else but the centre is needed for children in the town.”
Mrs Jevons (65) said the centre, which runs four nights a week, needed the funding to help pay for two part-time staff to run the facility.
“We do have some fantastic volunteers but we do need two members of staff because we put on shows, take the children on trips and all sorts,” she said.
“That involves a lot of planning and preparation works.
“As well as paying the staff, there is the rent and insurance, so ideally we need £30,000.
“We did apply for funding from elsewhere but it is such a competitive arena now that we’ve missed out.”
The centre has run activities for children aged ten to 18, including pool and arts and crafts, since 1997.
It also puts on shows, which youngsters perform to parents, and takes them on two or three trips to the coast per year.
“It’s fabulous to watch the children progress because once they come at a young age, it’s very rare they leave,” Mrs Jevons added.
“We have got 16-year-old lads who come in for a laugh and a game of pool - what happens to them if we close?
“The other thing that happens is the older kids get to know the younger ones and it makes them less afraid to walk about in the community because it can be frightening for people, not just kids, to walk about on dark nights.”
Mrs Jevons said she would continue to submit funding bids but without extra cash the centre would close in the new year.
“We have helped thousands of kids over the last 20 years. I could probably run the centre until January but not much longer after that,” she said.
Mrs Jevons also asked anyone who could donate to the centre to call her on 07814 887818.