Youth club’s joy at Co-op grant

Left to right:  Lydia Curry, Janet Molyneux, Michael Crowley, Victoria Charles, Jason Crowley, Jackie Stazicker and Leah McCarrick
Left to right: Lydia Curry, Janet Molyneux, Michael Crowley, Victoria Charles, Jason Crowley, Jackie Stazicker and Leah McCarrick

A PIONEERING youth club has received cash boost backing from the Co-op.

Kitt Green’s The Hut - which was founded at St Francis of Assisi church but on the all inclusive principle of welcoming all comers - will now be able to invest in additional sports equipment, games and craft materials for the growing numbers of youngsters that wish to attend the club’s Wednesday night sessions.

They have received a £1,350 cash boost from the supermarket giant’s community fund.

This was created by members of The Co-operative Group who elect to donate all, or part of their twice-yearly dividend payments directly to the scheme with the funds then shared with local projects and groups.

It was founded by Wigan Youth Offending Team member Janet Molyneux who decided that, after a decade of experience working with teenagers, that the dividing line between getting into trouble or not, can sometimes mean a warm and safe place to have a laugh with your mates.

The mum of two grown-up children from Standish says the club is drawing youngsters aged 11–16 years old from miles around to the fledgling outfit based at an outbuilding at the church in City Road.

It is already considering splitting into two distinct age groups to accommodate all the young people attending.

Janet called at St Francis’s initially on an off chance.

But she was then so overwhelmed by the warmth of the welcome she received that she became a regular part of the congregation.

And when she first proposed the youth club their response was immediately supportive and enthusiastic.

Others have now come forward with donations of pool and table football, board games and equipment, covering the costs for a major leaf letting operation of the adjoining estates or shirts for the helpers.

Mrs Molyneux said: “Since the club started last year our membership has grown from just seven local youngsters to over 40. Thanks to this generous grant from The Co-operative we have been able to buy additional equipment and games that will help us cater for our growing numbers.

“It is important that young people feel they have a place within this community and it is fantastic to see them grow in confidence and gain a sense of social responsibility.”

Victoria Charles from The Co-operative Group’s Lancashire Area Membership Committee said: “Because our members own the business, they get a share in any of the profits we make.

“It’s a scheme we’re very proud of, not only because it gives us the chance to thank members for shopping with us, but because so many people choose to give something back to local communities.”

Janet said: “I do believe that things are meant to happen for a reason and people seem to have been bought into my life for a purpose and at just the right time to make things happen.

“If I hadn’t called in at the church and been made so fantastically welcome, living in Standish, it’s unlikely I would have joined that particular congregation, I don’t suppose.”