AFC Portchester is about to become the home for a new drop-in venue for youngsters.
This exciting new project is called The Box and it will open at the Crest Finance Stadium from this Wednesday evening (February 26).
The venue is open to those who attend senior school, covering ages 11 to 16, and what happens during the sessions will be driven by the youngsters who attend.
The idea behind the project is to provide a safe environment for young people to meet up in. Entry will cost £1 and refreshments and snacks will be available from 50p.
There will initially be activities like table football, snooker table and games, music playing and sports related games.
As the project develops those who attend will be encouraged to ‘give back’ to the local community through activities like beach cleans, bag packing at shops, gardening, window cleaning and other voluntary activities.
Organisers are also planning to introduce courses for the youngsters to attend - for example football refereeing which would then allow them to earn money, lifestyle education and drug awareness courses are all possibilities - but what courses are laid on will be determined by the youngsters themselves.
Mother of two Sam Willis came up with the idea at a family barbecue three years ago after her niece complained about a lack of leisure opportunities aimed at youngsters in the village and surrounding areas.
The football club answered calls on social media for a venue to host the project and Sam is part of a group of volunteers who will help to run the sessions, which initially will be held on Wednesday evenings but could be extended to other days as The Box grows in popularity.
The football club’s vice chairman Graeme Moir commented: “The club is delighted to be hosting this new group, which is a vital new project providing something for the youngsters of Portchester.
“The football club already provides youth football to hundreds of youngsters in the village and hosting this new drop-in centre will further enhance the offerings for young people in the area.
“Young people have a crucial role to play in our community although often they feel there are not the facilities and activities they want on their doorstep.
“The Box will provide them with the vital service of a safe environment for them to gather and a place where they can develop the activities they want.
“By supporting The Box, we can play our part in helping to provide even more positive opportunities for the young people in our community.”
The Box will be open at AFC Portchester’s Crest Finance Stadium in Cranleigh Road on Wednesdays from 6.30-8.30pm.
For more information on The Box or to volunteer for the project search for @TheBoxPortchester on Facebook and also look out for updates on the Voice 4 Portchester Facebook page.