Volunteers gather for big youth centre clear up


Volunteers had a big clear-up at a youth centre which they plan to expand.

Some 15 volunteers from Crawley Community Voluntary Services (CCYS) and The Works cleared up Dormans Youth Arts Centre, Gossops Green, on Saturday (January 3).

Chris Cook, 51, a director of CCYS, a volunteer-run charity which manages the club with West Sussex County Council (WSCC), said he was touched by the group’s efforts.

Representatives from the club’s groups emptied and cleaned out its kitchen, arts room and games store room.

Users and volunteers from The Works, a volunteer-run Friday youth club for people with mental disabilities that uses the site, took part.

Mr Cook said: “It means that we all know that it’s clean and we know where everything is and how to look after it.

“Clearly there’s a lot of people who share our passion to see this space work, making things better and who want to see this building work for all our ventures.”

Mr Cook said the first meeting of the centre’s building management committee was to take place soon.

He added: “As a lead up to that we thought to have a clear up and invite people to it.

“As different groups we’ve got to meet each other to socialise and talk and that breaks down barriers.”

He hoped the lease for the building would be transferred from the council to CCYS by April.

CCYS would be able to start applying for funds to improve the centre’s facilities after.

Mr Cook, who works for WSCC’s youth services, said: “This coming year is going to see quite a few developments and changes here.”

These included improving the kitchen and using a unit at the rear of the centre to generate income for it.

He said the funds would go towards the provision of youth services in town.

He said: “The plan is to keep providing universal youth work services.

“We are planning to do more courses and training for people to really build this up.”

Hayley Wise, 22, of Coolham Court, Ifield, spent the day reorganising the art room.

She started volunteering for the centre when she was 17. She said: “Having the tidy up you can find more stuff for them to do. It’s a big improvement.

“It will make a big difference on the young people because there’s not many places for them to go now.”

The centre was founded 50 years ago. Cllr Brenda Smith, the Mayor of Crawley, was one of its founding members. A plaque at the centre commemorating its 25th anniversary states she was Mayor at the time. Mr Cook was planning to hold an open day in March for its 50th.