EASTBOURNE VOLUNTEERS WITH HELEN BURTON: Excitement over new youth project

Helen Burton SUS-160113-100959001
Helen Burton SUS-160113-100959001

My goodness it’s been a busy couple of weeks! Hopefully you will already have read about a new safe space for young people that we have been working on, The Junction.

For me it’s been a very personal mission to set something like this up, as its exactly the sort of place that could have helped a young person that I am close to. Two weeks ago the premises next to our Community Information Hub became available and as soon as I had a good look around I could see the potential for it. I talked to some of our volunteers, the through care service, Matthew 25 Mission, staff at Charlie’s (YMCA) and various other people working with young people and homelessness in Eastbourne and they all felt that there was a real need for what I was hoping to establish.

There is no point in duplicating services already available, so my plan was simply to create a space where existing services could work from, but somewhere that would be young person-friendly and an easy point of reference for young people that needed help.

After meeting with the managers of some key existing services I was even more convinced that we had to go for it. Of course, it’s all very easy to come up with a great idea, but premises have to be paid for and we had no funding. It wouldn’t be acceptable to our funders to use money that Eastbourne Volunteers had been granted for a purpose other than that which it had been given for, so we knew we needed to get some money quickly from another source. Last Friday at 7.30am I launched a crowdfunding page to try to raise the first month’s rent. By 1pm we had reached our target, mainly thanks to a £500 donation made by Clifden House Dementia Care Centre in Seaford. The messages of support from other donators and well-wishers were amazing too. We have had many people come forward who wanted to volunteer or work with the project in some way who we will be contacting soon as the project progresses.

We have also had two people approach us for help already, and both have been referred to the appropriate services. It just shows how much need there is. After I’ve finished writing this I will be getting my decorating clothes ready for a stint painting the walls of The Junction with other volunteers in-between visitors to the hub. It’s going to be a busy day, thank heavens for children’s holiday clubs! Our crowdfunding page is still live, and although we have already funded the first month’s rent and acquired the space, we are now asking for people to donate to renovate the kitchen area. We need a fridge, freezer, washing machine and a cooker, so if you can donate, please visit our page at https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/the-junction?utm_id=1&utm_term=PWAQ3v8yB or contact us direct at info@eastbournejunction.co.uk or on 01323 38181.