Funding boost is good news for scheme

A £10,000 grant was announced at a Bognor Regis youth scheme’s annual meeting.

The funding for the Number 18 Project has come from the lottery’s Awards for All. It will help to pay for the new post of development worker for which interviews were held last week.

Further backing could come from the Lloyds Bank Community Fund. Number 18 is one of just four projects in line to win a grant of up to £3,000.

The public will be able to vote which group will get the top award until October 10.

Andy Smith, Number 18’s new treasurer, said: “The Lloyds Bank Community Fund will make a huge difference to Number 18 by enabling us to make a real difference to the lives of hundreds of young people in Bognor.”

The recent meeting of the project was held as it celebrates 20 years of working with and for young people in the town.

It was told more than 1,300 young people had sought help from the Waterloo Square-based scheme in the previous year.

An online service and a new project with a well-known agency, which has yet to be announced, will provide an innovative approach to continuing that service.

A lot of young people were present at the meeting. They are playing an increasingly important role in running the project from which they benefit.

They are transforming part of the building of 11 rooms into a Chill-x-Box computer area.

They have secured an office as well so they can help with administrative, IT and building matters.

Secretary Liz Allen said: “We call this ‘co-management’ where they have a chance to share in how things develop. They make mistakes – we all do. That’s how we are all learning at Number 18.”

She is on the new committee elected at the meeting with Jan Cosgrove (chairman), Paul Blackaby, Joan Grant, Andy Smith (treasurer) and Mick Strudwick.

The meeting also heard the opinion of youth services expert Mike French on it work and his views about its future.

In his report as acting chairman, Jan thanked those who had taken the project through its most difficult year after the county council removed its funding.

The previous committee decided to keep going and Number 18 maintained its services of a daily drop-in youth cafe, information centre, open-ended counselling for young people and sexual health clinic.

This is being cut to one session a week because of NHS cuts but Jan assured the meeting the project was keen to restore the session and was hopeful of extending it an hour on weekdays by seeking other sources of funding.

He also paid tribute to the late Penny Foreman for her work as Number 18’s project leader.