YOUTH workers in Thetford are waiting to find out if a popular youth club will receive the £450,000 it needs to survive.
Allotted funding for the Meet-Up Café, on the Redcastle Estate, ran out yesterday.
Terry Jermy, full-time manager of the café, said they were now awaiting a response for their application for a Reaching Communities grant of £450,000 from the Big Lottery Fund.
Mr Jermy said: “We always knew we only had 15 months of funding but we hoped that when that finished people would see the good work we have done here.
“But now we are in a totally different world from when we started – the funding just isn’t out there.”
The café needs almost £500,000 over the next three years to keep on their two full-time staff members and four part-time staff.
Mr Jermy is concerned that if the café were to close it would destroy the groundwork that had been laid by their strong start.
“In Thetford we have a culture of building shiny new projects, knocking them down a couple of years later and then building something else new.
“By the time you recruit staff and get settled in, you need a decent amount of time to make a difference,” he said.
This is a view shared by Mike Brindle, Norfolk County Councillor for Thetford West and former headteacher of Rosemary Musker High School. He said the closure of facilities like the Meet-Up Café would leave young people with little else to do.
“If it’s not there they are basically left with two options – stay at home or hang around the streets,” he said.
“The whole feel around Thetford’s youth services is quite negative at the moment and the indicators you don’t want to see rising will be getting worse.”
The café has enough money to stay open till June.