More than 100 attend opening night at youth club

Witney Gazette: Jon Neville, front centre, with some of the children at the youth club  Picture: OX63969 Cliff Hide Buy this photo » Jon Neville, front centre, with some of the children at the youth club Picture: OX63969 Cliff Hide

IT HAS been a “long and arduous” project, lasting two-and-a-half years.

But a youth club has finally opened in Long Hanborough, West Oxfordshire, and the first two nights attracted more than 100 children.

The club was the idea of villager Jon Neville and his wife Tracy.

Mr Neville said: “We were sat at home thinking there was a need for a youth club.

“We both went to a youth club when we were kids and enjoyed it and there was nothing like it in the village.

“I run the junior Saturday morning football for four to eight-year-olds and know there was no facility for the older kids in the village.”

Having decided on the idea, the couple earmarked the old St John Ambulance hut, which had fallen into disrepair and not been used for 18 months.

After months of talks between Cottsway Housing, which owns the hut and the land, and Hanborough Parish Council, the Nevilles gained access to the hut.

But the structure was in a derelict state and needed investment and work to bring it up to scratch.

The group secured £7,000 in funding – £5,000 from Oxfordshire County Council’s Chill Out Fund and £2,000 from the Localiser Programme. More than 30 children and 30 parents rallied together and spent five weekends renovating the hut.

Mr Neville, 39, said: “It’s dramatically different from what it was. We’ve put in some patio doors and done a tremendous amount of work to make it more habitable. The kids were absolutely brilliant.

“There’s a pool table and table football in now, both of which were donated by local residents.

“That sums up the community spirit that has gone into the project.

“The reaction has been great and on the opening two nights last Tuesday and Thursday we had more than 100 children, which is mind blowing and I am hoping it will snowball.”

Mr Neville, who runs an office interiors firm, said the club needed the support of volunteers to succeed.

Anyone who wants to get involved in helping the youth club should contact Jon Neville on 07717 155286 or 01865 890808

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