Funding boost for youth club in Barnwell

Barnwell Youth Club founder Julie Dunn
Barnwell Youth Club founder Julie Dunn

A youth club in Barnwell which has been running for two decades has received a grant from a Rushden-based housing association.

The club – which runs during term time on Wednesdays from 7pm to 9pm for children aged eight or over – has been given a neighbourhood grant by Spire Homes, which says it wants to help fund projects which benefit people who live in its homes.

Julie Dunn, who set up the Barnwell Youth Club, said she read about Spire’s community grants and decided to apply for a grant when she saw they were building homes in the village, near Oundle.

“I thought I might as well apply for a grant to help the youth club grow,” she said.

“The grant has helped me get some support to run the club. A local teenager, Rosie, started with me just before Christmas and will now be with us until summer so we can now safely have more children through the door.

“I’ve always said that the club is open for children in the surrounding villages and towns as well as Barnwell, so I’ve been advertising the club to local people.

“I’ve also been able to order some new crafts such as play foam, candle making sets, sand modelling and other materials, balls for dodgeball and bean bags which will be arriving soon.

“We have a very relaxed approach, we have lots of activities on offer and the kids can do whatever takes their fancy – crafts, having a kick about, playing video games or just having a chat with friends.”

The Neighbourhood Grants Fund was launched to help community groups start up, or for existing groups to continue their work. Among those that would qualify are projects aiming to reduce anti-social behaviour or those helping people back in to employment.

“Supporting local groups, clubs and individuals with our neighbourhood grants is an essential part of Spire Homes’ commitment to helping the communities we work in thrive,” said John Farrar, chairman of Spire Homes.

“We’re very much focused on listening to our tenants and communities, in turn, responding and adapting our services to meet their needs and Julie has been doing just that with Barnwell Youth Club for nearly 20 years.

“By listening and responding to the demand she has created and maintained a fantastic environment for local children with plenty of positive activities which the children enjoy.”