Hadleigh: Show proceeds boost youth project

A PROJECT offering drop-in nights to teenagers has been boosted by a �1,000 donation from the proceeds of the Hadleigh Show.

Hadleigh Farmers’ Agricultural Association’s show director Phil Bryce chose the Porch Project as his main charity this year.

The show is the association’s main fundraising event and the proceeds go to local charities as well as into funding future shows.

The Porch Project was created in 2009 after the Very Reverend Martin Thrower noticed bored teenagers would hang around the porch of St Mary’s in Hadleigh and decided to let them into the church for supervised social gatherings.

Today, the project is in contact with over 350 young people between the ages of 11 and 19. Drop-in nights are Tuesday and Friday where pool, snooker, card games, three large screen games consoles and supervised cooking is offered. Facilities have expanded with counselling, the provision of an education suite (for homework club, sex/drug education and help with careers and jobs). There are also plans to start a sports academy.

In 2011/2012 the project gained three awards for its work with young people, as well as interest from the Prime Minister’s office. This has been a huge encouragement to a strong volunteer base of 30 people of all ages and full time youth work co-ordinator Craig Hutton.

“The Hadleigh Show is a key annual event for Hadleigh as a community,” said Mr Bryce.

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“The teenagers who live in Hadleigh are a vital part of our society and St Mary’s took the initiative to offer them a place to meet.

“I feel that this project should not be the sole responsibility of one church in our community but should be supported by everyone in Hadleigh and the neighbouring villages, as it is doing a great job and 350 youngsters are the better for it.”

Mr Thrower said: “It’s amazing that Phil has selected us as his chosen charity, to have the Hadleigh Farmers Agricultural Association acknowledging the importance of the work that the Project is doing is great recognition for all those involved.

“This donation will increase awareness of what we are doing throughout the membership of the Association and will help to bring in further much needed funds or at least suggestions on how we can raise them! I would welcome any of the associations members to come and see what we are doing and what a difference we are making to the young people of Hadleigh and the surrounding villages. Thank you all, it is much appreciated and will be put to very good use”.

Other charities to benefit from the proceeds of the Hadleigh Show are: Dame Vera Lyn Trust, On Course Foundation (Wattisham Base), Help for Heroes, Suffolk and Stowmarket Young Farmers, Hadleigh Elderly Peoples Christmas Appeal.