Help sought to keep Melton youth entertainment centre going

Yoof founder Christine Bligh outside the Snow Hill premises EMN-200131-130424001
Yoof founder Christine Bligh outside the Snow Hill premises EMN-200131-130424001
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A Melton couple who run an entertainment and social centre for youngsters aged from five to 17 are hoping to attract more funding to help keep the popular sessions going.

Yoof opened in a unit on the town’s Snow Hill industrial estate in November and offers a wide range of activities including pool, table tennis, computer games, football and basketball on a small court and movies on a big screen.

Youngsters enjoy a game of pool at the Yoof entertainment centre in Melton EMN-200131-130508001

Youngsters enjoy a game of pool at the Yoof entertainment centre in Melton EMN-200131-130508001

Mother-of-two Christine Bligh and husband Simon launched it because they felt there were not enough places provided in Melton for young people to enjoy themselves outside school.

The centre opens on Fridays, from 3pm to 9pm, and on Saturdays and Sundays, 12 noon to 5pm, and there are plans during February half-term to extend opening hours to include Monday to Thursday and Saturday evening.

But the couple desperately need more children and teenagers to attend and for help with the cost of running the venture. They have approached the council and local community groups for assistance.

Christine said: “The kids love the activities and we have regulars already but it is growing too slowly for our costs to be covered.

A child plays computer games at Yoof watched by founder Christine Bligh EMN-200131-130457001

A child plays computer games at Yoof watched by founder Christine Bligh EMN-200131-130457001

“At the moment, unless we receive help we won’t make it past the Easter holidays.

“Myself and my husband have invested £56,000 in to Yoof but we can’t put anymore in.

“And we are both working both days at the weekend for free to run the place as we can’t afford to pay wages.

“My husband already works full-time and I work part-time.

Yoof founder Christine Bligh, with Glynn Cartwright (left) of Melton Matters and borough councillor Simon Lumley EMN-200131-130413001

Yoof founder Christine Bligh, with Glynn Cartwright (left) of Melton Matters and borough councillor Simon Lumley EMN-200131-130413001

“With two young children it is a lot to cope with.

“However, seeing how much the kids love it makes it all worthwhile and any help, especially financial, would be gratefully received.”

Children do not have to register to attend - they are charged £3 for one hour or £5 for two hours - with refreshments also available and there is a sitting area for parents where they can enjoy hot drinks.

Yoof is currently running tournaments in each sport at the weekends offering a prize to the winner.

The Yoof entertainment centre for young people in Melton EMN-200131-130435001

The Yoof entertainment centre for young people in Melton EMN-200131-130435001

And on Sunday it is planned to host a trial session for youngsters with special educational needs.

The centre also has a party room where parents can pay for several children to attend, at a discounted rate.

There are plans to hold a disco event during half-term if there is enough demand.

Chris Fisher, who takes his sons to sessions, said: “As a parent I find Yoof is a great venue to keep your children entertained and occupied.

“It is easily accessible and very spacious with indoor football and basketball courts and it has a lot of equipment for them to use and enjoy at a very reasonable price.

“When I take my children to Yoof, I feel confident that they are in a safe environment with lots of equipment to keep them active and stimulated.”

Mr Fisher, who is also a Melton borough councillor, added: “We often see comments on social media that there is nothing for the younger generation to do, well Yoof fills that gap in the market.

“A lot of money has been invested by the owners and we need to support this new venture or risk losing it.”

Email yoofltd@outlook.com if you would like to offer financial support or sponsorship to help keep Yoof going and go to www.yoof.co.uk for more information on activities there.