Youngsters party at group’s bash

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A YOUTH group that has grown from humble beginnings with just three children celebrated a major milestone in a special event attended by almost 100 youngsters.

The Harvesters Youth Group, which meets up every Wednesday at the Highfield Barnes Community Centre marked its 10th birthday on Saturday, March 3.

Founded by Kelly Mercer, 40, of Kettering, the under 11s group now has 40 children on its books.

She said: “I started the group in my house because there was nowhere for children to go on the Highfield estate.

“Starting up 10 years ago, I never thought I’d still be doing it. I started out doing it with my kids but they’ve since moved out and I’m still running the club.

“It gives the children a chance to get together and have fun, and a lot of them go on to volunteer for the group so that’s good to put on their CVs. If the group didn’t exist, there wouldn’t be anything for youngsters to do around here.”

The group celebrated with a party at Burton Latimer Community Centre.

Mrs Mercer added: “We thought it would be nice to celebrate the achievement of being a group for 10 years.

“A lot of youth groups start up but unfortunately don’t continue.

“It was a great night and it was brilliant to have so many people turn up.”

The Christian group is run by volunteers, with four adults and eight younger leaders.

They organise several trips and walks for the children, as well as games at their traditional weekly get togethers.

Mrs Mercer, who works at the Barnes Community Centre, also runs an over 11s group, called MAD, which meets on Wednesday evenings too.

The group helps fund itself by hosting a variety of raffles and sales, and youngsters pay a pound towards its running cost every event.

The Harvesters Youth Group meets at the Highfeld Barnes community centre, in Barnes Close, from 5pm to 6pm every Wednesday.