TWO YOUNG people have told how an isolated youth club has boosted their life chances as they press for help to give their meeting hall a new lease of life.

Emma Sleep, 14, has gained a lot of confidence and has even found herself a part-time job dealing with the public face-to-face.

She found having good adult role models at Princetown Youth Club helped her have someone ‘independent’ to talk to about issues she might have in her life, either to do with school or family or other personal problems.

She said: “When I first came to the youth club it was to socialise and make new friends who I wouldn’t see at school, especially younger or older kids who I wouldn’t be friends with in the normal way at school. It makes you realise other people have problems as well that might be worse than yours and it makes you less worried about your life. When that happens I was able to talk to the young members here about what they were worried about and if I couldn’t help, then I passed it onto Ross, the youth leader or Sinead who also helps here. It made me feel helpful and I got used to talking to the leaders which gave me confidence in myself and was able to talk on behalf of some of the others. Sometimes you can’t talk to teachers or your friendship group or your parents about personal things because it sometimes doesn’t help. But we can talk to our leaders, they don’t judge us and can always just listen or they find some other person to help. Sometimes it’s productive for me to just listen to people and they feel better. We feel comfortable and safe coming to the youth club and talking about what worries us.”

Emma, who has two younger siblings at the youth club and has been attending it since she was eight, has been involved with helping out with the junior section who she hopes to inspire to achieve in the same way she has been.

She added: “I’ve also got a job at the Prince of Wales pub in Princetown as a waitress at the weekend and helping out generally. I’d like to be a nurse or work in the hospitality industry as I really love working in the pub. It’s a big thing for me because I am now much more confident in myself which you have to be in a job like that. I have to talk to the customers and be cheerful and help them. There’s no way I could have done it not long ago. but coming to the youth club has really made me believe in myself.

“Working at the pub initially was way out of my comfort zone, but I found I like helping people, especially visitors who ask me about what it’s like to live here and I tell them all about the myths about the people and animals on Dartmoor. I’m really grateful to Ross and Sinead for helping give me this chance through their guidance really.”