Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Chairman and youth worker to leave at end of year

TWO stalwarts of Henley Youth Centre will be leaving at the end of the year.

TWO stalwarts of Henley Youth Centre will be leaving at the end of the year.

Oliver Makower is to step down as chairman of the Thamesfield Youth Association, which runs the centre.

Steve Curran, a youth worker, will end his 19-year association with the centre after not having his contract renewed.

Mr Makower’s grandfather, Ernest, was a founding trustee of the association in 1943 and he became involved in the Eighties.

Last year, he received the Henley town medal in recognition of his work supporting the town’s young people.

Clive Wilkinson, who chairs the centre’s trustees, said he had been ignoring Mr Makower’s requests to retire for some time. “We’ve finally had to allow Oliver to retire as a trustee at the end of this year,” he said. “He has been involved with the youth centre since the late Eighties and his family have been involved since 1943.

“Oliver’s support and contribution in running the centre has been enormous. His knowledge and wisdom has led me to refer to him as Aslan, the towering, reassuring and influential presence in The Chronicles Of Narnia books. From all of us, thank you, Oliver.”

Mr Curran began working in the youth service in 1979. He has had two periods at the Henley centre, the latest one beginning in 2001.

When the centre had its £25,000-a-year grant from Oxfordshire County Council withdrawn in 2011, Mr Curran worked directly with the centre to make sure it remained open.

Mr Wilkinson said: “Steve has been a constant presence to many young people. Personally and on behalf of everyone involved with the youth centre, I want to thank him for everything that he’s done.” Mr Curran said: “It is with some sadness that this will be my final general meeting at the youth centre. It has been such an important part of my life for a great many years.

“Since the county council withdrew the funding it has been a struggle to keep the centre open and thriving. There have been a lot of successful fund-raising activities during the year but this has not been enough to keep it running as it is.”

Mr Curran said his highlights included a gig night attended by 120 people, which had led to the formation of a band who planned to fund-raise for the centre.

He thanked everyone involved for their support, adding: “Young people are what makes the youth centre.”

There will be a party at the end of the year to mark the men’s departure.

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