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Gloucestershire Business News

Cheltenham youth group celebrates £123,000 lottery funding

The award winning #FuelThursdays youth project has been secured for the next five years after being awarded £123,000 by the National Lottery Communities Fund.

#FuelThursdays runs weekly sessions for young people, aged 11 to 16, at Whaddon (Oakley) Community Centre, operating in the heart of a hard to reach, disadvantaged community. The current funding was due to run out in November.

The 60 young people, who are currently signed up to the project, choose what they want to do during the two-hour sessions and how long they spend on each activity, ranging from art, sport and games to cookery and mental health and wellbeing workshops. Each week they come together to meet friends in a safe environment, learn new skills, talk about issues that concern them, get help where needed and enjoy a healthy, nutritious meal.

#FuelThursdays is a collaboration between The Cheltenham Trust, Wiggly Worm Charity and Gloucestershire Youth Support Team working with Cheltenham Borough Council, Cheltenham Borough Homes and community groups.

Laurie Bell, Cheltenham Trust chief executive

Laurie Bell, chief executive of The Cheltenham Trust, said: "#FuelThursdays is a very successful project that makes a real difference in the community for many young people and their families.

"Everyone involved with the project is delighted that #FuelThursdays has secured this significant funding from the National Lottery Communities Fund. This money will enable the project not just to continue for the next five years but to expand further and to work with even more young people."

Dan Brookes, community coordinator at The Cheltenham Trust, said #FuelThursdays regularly attracts around 40 young people to each session. It has tended to be boys but more girls are joining and being encouraged to take part.

He said: "What sets this project apart is that we work hard to provide activities that are wanted by the young people rather than assumed. We encourage them to play a major role in directing how the project develops.

"We know these sessions have a real impact on the lives of these young people and that we can be the difference between drifting into trouble and starting to build a positive life for themselves."

"#FuelThursdays is a brilliant project and it changes the lives of everyone who is involved with it. It's wonderful that it has secured this funding and that we can look at doing even more and reaching out further across Cheltenham to more young people."

The #FuelThursdays team

The project includes cookery sessions, run by Wiggly Worm, that have proved particularly successful with the young people learning how to prepare and cook healthy meals.

The Cheltenham Trust and #FuelThursdays are a committed partner of The No Child Left Behind campaign.

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