Club that came back from brink seeks more volunteers

Some parents and members of the newly reformed Parents Plus Committee, back from left, Charlotte McCabe, Charles Shepherd, Carol Cooper and Nikki Cinnamond; front,  Michelle Keenan, Lyn Irwin and Cheryl Johnston.  INPT3915-430
Some parents and members of the newly reformed Parents Plus Committee, back from left, Charlotte McCabe, Charles Shepherd, Carol Cooper and Nikki Cinnamond; front, Michelle Keenan, Lyn Irwin and Cheryl Johnston. INPT3915-430

A youth club which came back from the brink of closure three years ago with a show of ‘parent power’ is recruiting more members to its committee.

Goal Line Youth Trust, which caters for disabled and able-bodied children, was facing a financial crisis in 2012 but was saved by the concerted effort of parents, many of whom had children with learning difficulties who relied on the Portadown club.

Today, Goal Line, which meets at Chambers Park, has approximately 200 children attending three different clubs every week, and is going from strength to strength.

A recent meeting saw a number of new committee members sign up - both parents and members of the public - but more volunteers are needed.

Trustee Lyn Irwin said, “A lot of the committee are leaving as their children have reached 18 years of age and have moved on to the Enable club.

“We need to replace them and are wanting to form a new Parents Plus group with parents, family, friends and people from the local community.

“The parents who came together in 2012 have helped with many fundraising events and have enjoyed a lot of camaraderie along the way. We always try to be innovative and run a variety of interesting programmes for the young people.”

Just a few months ago, Goal Line was presented with a highly commended award in the Lloyds Bank Charity Achievement Awards, winning a plaque and a cheque for £500.

Said Lyn, “It was recognition for what we do and what we have achieved.”

In its submission to the charity, one member of the parents’ committee wrote, “In September 2012 Goal Line was under financial pressure and almost closed. This would have left my child with no social activity as he has Autism, ADHD and learning difficulties.

“When my son started in Goal Line Youth Trust he did not speak to many people, he did not mix with other young people or many adults. He was closed in his own world and would only spend time with a small group of family members.

“Goal Line was, and is, his lifeline and with the help of the leaders he has developed his social skills and now can mix quite well with various groups of people.

“He is more outgoing and can take part in a conversation or event.

“My child is now a ‘Buddy’ at Goal Line, where he assists another disabled child and this has helped him develop his social skills further and learn responsibility.”

The club runs six sessions per week, for juniors, seniors and children with disabilities (Youth Reach).

Said Lyn, “Volunteers don’t need any experience, just willingness to support Goal Line in whatever way they can.

“Goal Line is totally independent and we have to seek funding every year.

“We would like to take this opportunity to thank all the parents and supporters who got behind us in 2012.”

The email address is goallineyouthcentre@hotmail.com or go to the website goallineyouthcentre.co.uk

The next meeting is on Tuesday, October 13, at 7pm at Goal Line.