A young Spilsby man who started fights in the town with his mates ‘just for the fun of it’ has spoken of how his life has been turned around.
Ben Jones, 21, has a traineeship with the New Life Centre, which launched a Youth Hub in October last year, following a £32,000 grant from the Health Lottery.
This is an exciting time for usDavid Bruce
On Friday members of the outreach team walked the streets of Spilsby to engage with young people who hang around in groups because ‘there is little else to do’.
This week they will be out again, offering hot chocolate and a warm welcome to the facilities at the centre.
Ben said: “Before I came here my nights out with my mates in Spilsby were violent and rough. We would get into fights just for the fun of it because there was nothing else to do.
“Coming here has turned my life around. I became a volunteer and now have a traineeship at the centre.
“I want to show other youths that it is not a bad town and encourage them to take any opportunity they are given and hang on to it.”
Outreach youth worker David Bruce said: “We are really proud of Ben. He was known as a trouble maker in the town and people wondered what I was doing when he first came here. Now they can’t believe how much he’s changed.”
The team engaged with about 20 youths on Friday, who were hanging around Sainsbury’s.
David said: “When we go out we also inform the police of our location, how long we are out for and where we will be going. When residents see groups hanging around the town it can be quite intimidating.
“As well as the group at Sainsbury’s, we also met with three young men who actually took up our offer and came into the centre, had a few games of pool and enjoyed the chilli and chips that were on offer.”
There are now about 15 young people who regularly visit the centre in Church Street.
The Youth Hub offers table tennis, pool, table football, Xbox, movies and much more, all for 50p a session. As well as the social aspect of the project, the staff are on hand to offer advice on life skills, CV writing, signposting to further educational courses and apprenticeships with First College and work with the Princes Trust.
David said: “This is an exciting time for us and we are really looking forward to seeing what the next two years brings.”
For more information about the New Life Centre and Youth Hub, visit www.newlifespilsby.com