Plans to bring Doncaster youth centre back into use - despite vandal attacks

Community leaders say they hope to bring a Doncaster youth centre back into use – despite recent vandalism.

Friday, 7th May 2021, 6:00 am

The Shakers building, on High Street, Askern, is currently boarded up and has been targeted by vandals, having not been used since the start of lockdown.

Its chairman John Gilliver is urging anyone who knows who is carrying out the vandalism to tell the police – but says the plan is still to bring the building back into use.

Mr Gilliver said there were efforts currently going on to bring the venue back into use, and there were people who were prepared to volunteer there.

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He said the centre had not been able to open in recent times because of lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, and it had been boarded up to protect it from vandalism.

He said all the damage had been reported to the police.

He said: “It is a community asset owned by the community. It has been severely affected by Covid and has not been able to open, because it depends entirely on volunteers to run it.

"Unfortunately, it has been blighted by attacks from a mindless few, damaging it rather than using it for what it was provided for.

Natasha Frew, 16, Amber Borkowska, 15 and Lucy Tulley, 16, pictured by the juke box at Shakers youth cafe. Picture: Marie Caley D2282MC

“Its original usage can be restored to its former glory and this has support from the borough councillors and many others who want it to be re-opened. If anyone has any information or support to help catch the perpetrators of this vandalism, please report it on 101 to the police.

“It is not just the Shakers building – there have been others damaged in Askern too.

“There are plans to restore it to its former glory and youth facility, but at the moment people are destroying it, wrecking it.”

He said there was also damage to the inside of the building.

Howard Connell, Prject Manager, pictured with volunteers and youngsters who use the Shakers Youth Cafe. Picture: Marie Caley D2279MC

Shakers was originally built in 2010 as a venue for young people in Askern to come and spend time, with facilities such as a pool table and a jukebox.

But it has had to rely on volunteers to run it and youth services budgets have been cut in recent years following austerity.

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Labour leader Ed Miliband visited Shakers in Askern to officially open the youth cafe. He is pictured here with l-r Maisey Adams, eight, of Askern Spa junior school, Jack Tinsley, 14, Hollie Windeatt, 13, both of Campsmount, Bobby Carter, ten, of Askern Spa junior school, Harry Bustin, 13 and Ally Gill, 13, both of Campsmount School. Picture: Marie Caley D2634MC