Initiative to support young people to launch in Bury St Edmunds

An initiative providing young people aged between 11 and 16-years with a safe place to relax and socialise, is to be launched in Bury St Edmunds.

Teen Chill sessions will begin on 25 March and will be held every Monday from 7pm to 9pm at the New Bury Community Centre.

It’s being launched after West Suffolk Council bid for Safer Streets 5 funding, secured from Government from the Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore.

The money supports projects designed to help reduce anti-social behaviour and crime.

The Teen Chill sessions are run by Abbeycroft and are already successful in other West Suffolk towns. Bury St Edmunds Town Council has agreed funding to recruit additional youth workers to work alongside Teen Chill and look to enhance the youth offer across the town.

Warren Smyth, Chief Executive of Abbeycroft Leisure, Debbie Carthy, centre manager at the New Bury Community Centre, Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore, Cllr Donna Higgins, Cabinet Member for Families and Communities at West Suffolk Council, Charlie Potter, Active Communities Manager at Abbeycroft and Cllr Diane Hind, Mayor of Bury St Edmunds

Cllr Donna Higgins, West Suffolk Council’s Cabinet Member for Families and Communities, who also represents the Minden ward in the town, and who is also a town councillor, said: “I am passionate about ensuring that there is activity and provision in place to meet the needs of young people in our area, supporting them and benefiting both their physical and mental health. There has been a gap in terms of the provision in Bury St Edmunds and it’s something that I’ve been striving to address since being elected to the district council in May. Teen Chill provides somewhere for young people who want to meet, relax, talk, listen to music and play games. It’s an initiative that has worked well in our other towns and so I am delighted we have secured the funding to launch it in Bury St Edmunds. Through the town council funded youth workers, we will also be looking to engage with young people and provide more for them to do in the town.”

Suffolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore said: “Whilst Suffolk is one of the safest areas in the country nevertheless there are specific areas where much more needs to be done to tackle and prevent crime and anti-social behaviour.  I really believe the Safer Streets 5 funding will have a very positive impact on community safety and therefore help improve the quality of life for homes and businesses in Bury St Edmunds. I am delighted funding secured through the Safer Streets fund has been directed towards Teen Chill. Anything we can do to keep young people out of trouble and give them purpose has my full support. I have seen at first-hand the difference that having a positive role-model can have and by providing a safe place for young people our hope is this will reduce anti-social behaviour in the area which in turn will impact positively on policing in the town.”

Warren Smyth, chief executive of Abbeycroft said: “It’s great to see our Teen Chill initiative extended to include Bury St Edmunds. Our Active Communities Team works hard to find out what activities are wanted and where, so sessions are deliberately not structured, however, youth workers and volunteers are there to provide support and a positive role model for the young people who attend. The activities available have been requested by the youngsters themselves, such as computer games, board games, music, sports, pool, arts and plenty of areas for relaxing and talking.”

Debbie Carthy, centre manager at the New Bury Community Centre, said: “We are delighted to be able to launch Teen Chill. Our community centre is here to serve the whole of our community. We know that the local community has been calling for more activities for young people on the Howard and Marham Park estates. Teen Chill is hopefully just the start of better facilities and activities for them to enjoy in a positive safe space.”

Teen Chill sessions will include a £1 entry fee. Soft drinks will be available and are not included in the entry fee.

To find out more about Teen Chill visit