New Saddleworth youth group throws open doors as services end at Satellite Centre

A BRAND new youth group in Greenfield has thrown open its doors to young people following the withdrawal of provision from the Satellite Centre.

Oldham Council recently voted to end youth provision at their centre on Wellington Road as well as others across the borough as part of their £35million savings during the next financial year.

But concerned volunteers have rallied together to launch Youth Local (YoLo) to provide activities and support for young people from across Saddleworth and Lees.

The not-for-profit group now has a temporary base at Greenfield Conservative Club and they were greeted by keen youngsters at their ‘Meet and Greet’ night earlier this month.

Young people and their parents went along to find what is on offer from YoLo: starting on April 15, there will be weekly Wednesday sessions for juniors from 5.30pm-7.30pm followed by seniors until 9.30pm.

Sessions are open to all, with a small membership fee, and activities will include discos, arts and crafts, cooking, cake decorating, music and more.

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Helen Bishop, a youth and community worker with 17 years’ experience in this area, is chair of the new group.

She said: “The response has been really positive and we had lots of children of all ages come along.

“My main concern with the finish of the services at the Satellite Centre was there would be a lot of young people in this area with nothing to do.

“We want to make sure they have somewhere fun but also safe to go where we can give them any support they need.”

She added: “Ultimately what we would like is to move back to the Satellite Centre, which was built with the intention of being used for children’s and youth services.”

Helen, who ran the former Lees Youth Club, will work with a team of fully qualified and experienced youth workers and volunteers to deliver the services.

Colin Lindo, a local youth worker for ten years, added: “It would be a shame if there was nothing in the area. It’s too far for many of the children to go to Mahdlo.”

Parents also welcomed the new group, including one mother, who wished to be unnamed, whose child was one of the first to join the Satellite Centre when it opened.

She said: “It’s really great Helen and the team are doing this. There is a desperate need locally for services like this and we are so grateful.

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The Satellite Centre in Greenfield

“We hope everyone will support it and get involved.”

Meanwhile, Oldham Council is seeking a tenant to take over the running of the Satellite Centre and keep the facilities open for community use.

A statement of particulars is being put together by the council’s assets team, who will then invite expressions of interest and plans to be submitted by potential tenants.

The centre is currently home to local groups and organisations including PASSinc, mother and toddler groups and the Greenfield and Grasscroft Residents’ Association.

For more information about Youth Local call Helen Bishop: 07899 997524. The group is also looking for help and financial backing from local businesses and groups.

Anyone interested in finding out more about the Satellite Centre, contact Lisa Macdonald: please call 0161 770 5195 or email: lisa.macdonald@oldham.gov.uk

For more information on changes to youth services visit: www.oldham.gov.uk

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