A call has been made for fresh volunteers to beef up the team running Lifton Youth Club to allow it to reopen following its abrupt closure over issues of teenagers ‘pushing boundaries’.

Volunteer leader Peter Morris said the decision had been taken regretfully because he and the other volunteers felt ‘ill-equipped to deal properly’ with the challenging behaviour of 'a small number of children’.However, with two parents now coming forward to volunteer at the club, which meets at Lifton Community Centr on Friday evenings, Peter is now hopeful of being able to restart sessions.The club has proved very popular with young people since reopening in October following closure due to the pandemic.

‘When we started we had three youth workers. None of us are youth workers but we thought it was something the village needs, so let’s do it,’ said Peter.

‘We had one helper resign last week and I felt we were getting ourselves into difficult place because we haven’t got anyone to supervise it properly. It leaves me feeling uncomfortable about running it until we have got the right people to run it.

‘I am disappointed to have to shut it, but we are not schoolteachers, we are not trained in it. We have done the courses we can, but it doesn’t make you experienced.

‘We have now had two people volunteer and SPACE [the Devon youth service] are offering training and can give us advice on paying someone who is experienced as a youth worker to come and manage the sessions and coordinate which volunteers are going to be in attendance.’

He said the existing volunteers had experience of Scouts, but not running a youth club. ‘Scouts is a very different environment. This is much more informal.’

The club really took off after being restarted in October on Friday nights, after Lifton Community Centre offered the whole venue free of charge. As many as 35 young people have been coming along to the two-hour sessions which sees them having the run of the centre.

With pool, games like giant Jenga and Connect 4 and a tuck shop, the club has been giving young people a place to socialise after many months confined to barracks due to covid.‘We have done it on a Friday because that’s the end of the week and it is an opportunity for them to wind down after a week of school, meet their friends and enjoy themselves,’ said Peter.

‘I want the parents to take some responsibility too and volunteer. It doesn’t have to be every week, I understand that parents are busy.’

He added that the sessions were free for the children. ‘Lifton Community Centre have been really brilliant. They have not charged us for using the hall and because of that we felt it was wrong to charge the yong people when we are not being charged ourselves.’

‘I think we will stay shut for the moment. I would like two more volunteers, and then if we get a good full-time youth worker I would be comfortable opening with three volunteers. I would also like somebody to run the club tuck shop.’

Contact Peter at [email protected] to find out more or to help.