Groups’ merger is ‘good news’ for young people

Howard Connell, Project Manager, pictured with volunteers and youngsters who use the Shakers Youth Cafe. Picture: Marie Caley D2279MC
Howard Connell, Project Manager, pictured with volunteers and youngsters who use the Shakers Youth Cafe. Picture: Marie Caley D2279MC
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A MERGER between two Askern groups which provide activities for young people could bring even more opportunities to the town.

Community development organisation A Junction North has announced this week that it will be moving from the Houlsby Centre site in Sutton Road to the Shakers Youth Cafe in an effort to pull together and pool resources.

Junction manager Jim Hopper hopes that the partnership could spell a more certain future for both groups, which often rely on one-off or short-term funding grants.

He says that pulling together could help them both concentrate more time on events and activities, with ideas for the future including a multi-use games area.

He said: “There are many organisations that are near to closing in the current climate. We are having to consolidate to strengthen. I think there is power in numbers.

“We were thinking that A Junction North may have to close but by pulling together with Shakers, we will both be able to continue to provide the services we offer.”

Activities offered by the club include weekly swimming, street dance, cooking and games sessions, which will soon take place at the Shakers building in High Street. A Junction North is currently operating with funding from Children In Need and has just been awarded £10,000 from Awards For All to help boost the confidence of NEETs - young people not in education, employment or training.

It has also received £2,000 from the Co-Op to help pensioners develop their IT skills and has submitted a bid to the Coalfields Regeneration Trust.

Mr Hopper aid that there was plans in the pipeline to link up the two groups with Bentley Pavilion - where he is chairman of the Friends of the Pavilion group.

He said: “We want to move away from the current model. It would be great to see the NHS and council in Doncaster offer more commissioned work to community groups. This would enable us to offer meaningful employment to people.”

Shakers cafe chairman Harvey Field said: “The Government has withdrawn a lot of funding so things are tight. We hope that by working together, we might be able to offer even more.”

An opening event at Shakers to celebrate the new partnership is due to take place once the move is complete after the Easter school holidays.

Anyone who wants to volunteer or learn more about activities at A Junction North or Shakers can call 01302 707592.