Youth group needs help

Meg Stone right) with one of her young ladies

Meg Stone is a young lady with a mission. Seeing the need for giving young people a place to go and socialise in an area where there are limited facilities for them, she set up the Rother Youth Group with a view to operating first in Rye and then expanding to other areas in the Rother region.

The group has grown from its beginnings in Lion Street a little over a year ago and now operates from the Tilling Green Community Centre (where there is more space, both inside and outside) on Monday evenings from 6:30pm until 8pm, and caters for boys and girls from 8 to 18 year-olds. Although the group is run entirely by volunteers, funding of this type of operation is always a problem but a nominal charge of just £2 per person each week pays for the hire of the hall and donations and grants have helped to supply a variety of equipment including a pool table, badminton, table football, air hockey and other items.

Wherever there are boys, there’s a football!

Although there are plenty of planned activities – including excursions, such a one to the Science Museum at Herstmonceux – the evening is primarily an opportunity for young people to get together with their peers and have fun while at the same time picking up valuable social skills. Around 30 – 40 attend most weeks and, despite the range of ages learn to mix well. However, as any parent knows, teenagers are not always easy and do need supervision (sometimes just the mere presence of an adult is sufficient) and this is the biggest difficulty that Meg and her small team face.

They urgently need more volunteers. As Meg says, “If we had enough, we could operate a rota system and then maybe even just one evening a month would be all we would need to ask of someone”. Just a couple of hours every few weeks could be all that would be needed, but without this there is a real danger that the group might shortly have to close. This would be a serious loss to our community – in the short time that he was there, this writer was convinced of the value of the group and for it to close, just because of lack of adult help, would not only be sad but it would clearly be missed by the young people who use it.

The pool table

Could you spare a few hours of your time? Do you have any useful skills that you could pass on? Karate or other forms of self defence was one thing that was mentioned, or maybe ball games or badminton. Even without specific skills, just a willingness to get involved is all that is needed and male volunteers, in particular, would be very welcome. You will need to be DBS cleared, but this is painless and carried out at no cost to you or the Youth Group.

So if you, or someone you know, might be interested in helping please get in touch with Meg (email or phone 07539 957751). You might just find it a surprisingly rewarding experience. You can also see more of the group on their facebook page.


Photos: John Minter and Rother Youth Group

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