Sunday, 07 August 2022

Council receives community award

SONNING Common Parish Council has been honoured for its support of the village youth club.

SONNING Common Parish Council has been honoured for its support of the village youth club.

The council won the community partnership award at the Oxfordshire Youth Community Link Up Volunteer Awards for helping to fund Club SC.

The club, which is based at Chiltern Edge School, has about 100 members and meets twice a week on Wednesday and Thursday evenings.

Carol Viney, who chairs the club’s management committee, and parish councillor Colin Reynolds attended the awards ceremony held at Cutterslowe Park in Oxford.

Youth club leader Sue Carson also collected an award on behalf of Alex Jolly, an 18-year-old volunteer at the club who was honoured for his voluntary work.

Mrs Viney, who nominated the council, said: “The parish council has been brilliant and I can’t thank them enough for the help they have given since the youth club’s inception.”

In 2011, Oxfordshire County Council cut funding to all but seven youth clubs in the county, including The Edge in Sonning Common. Club SC was then established with a a one-off payment of £25,000 from the Government’s Big Society Fund via the county council.

Mrs Viney, who was then Sonning Common’s representative on the county council, said: “The county offered start-up funds but needed to know where the money was coming from in the next three years to keep the club going. The parish council used to give Club SC £4,500 for an extra youth support worker before the cuts. I looked at ways of getting money so the club could continue. I went to the parish council and they said they could help.”

The parish council offered to pay the start-up cost of £10,000 and it has continued to provide funding.

Last year, it gave Club SC £8,000 towards its operating costs of £15,000 and next year that will rise to about £10,000. The money is used for maintenance, new equipment and to pay youth workers.

Mrs Viney said: “Without the money from the parish council we would not survive.

“The club is really successful and does a wonderful job helping children from the beyond the parish too, from Peppard, Emmer Green and Kidmore End.”

Some members of the club stay on as volunteers once they turn 17 and become too old to attend.

Mrs Viney said: “This helps us as young people know what other young people want. We run for 50 weeks a year, only stopping for Christmas, and even go through the school holidays, which is nice for people who don’t go away.”

Cllr Reynolds, who is the parish council’s community member, said: “It is important we make sure we have a youth club that will keep going.”

Mrs Carson said: “I quite often come here after a really long day and working with the kids makes it really rewarding.

“They often want to chat with someone not related to their home or school life. I’m happy to be there for someone to get something off their chest.”

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