YOUTH facility campaigners in Hunmanby are celebrating a surprise donation of £25,000 – the full amount required to create a purpose-designed centre for young people in the village.
Members of Hunmanby Young People’s Organisation had been struggling to raise enough cash and were therefore delighted to receive a cheque for the full shortfall from Hunprenco chairman Eddie Neesom.
Secretary Liz Mullin said: “It means the absolute world to us because we’ve been working so hard, first to get a building, then with all the grant applications, and because things are tight at the moment I never thought we’d get there.”
At the moment, young people in the village have nowhere to meet indoors and the scheme would give them an informal meeting place with kitchen and toilet facilities, adult supervision and an additional outdoor shelter next to the skate park at the back of the community centre.
The local businessman dipped his hand in his pocket following a personal appeal made by parish council chairman John Kniveton prior to a meeting with the company to discuss a proposed land deal.
Although Hunmanby Young People’s Organisation had already written to all businesses on the industrial estate asking for sponsorship, Cllr Kniveton’s appeal appeared to strike a chord with Mr Neesom.
Mr Neeson said: “Since we came to Hunmanby village with our young family in 1961 we have seen many changes, not always for the better.
“A youth club was established in Bowling Green Lane, and children used the playground which was available.
“With the passage of time, things have been discontinued and now the element of severe vandalism is becoming an ever-increasing problem.”
Mr Neesom said he started engineering as a hobby in 1969, but it soon became a full-time business that became Hunprenco – now a substantial and expanding company.
After starting in an old building near the railway, the company bought land from the parish council and effectively founded the industrial estate.
He said: “It was not easy in those days having to provide a new road, lights and drainage with very little financial help.
“We have now become a very successful international company, exporting to most countries in the world.”
Mr Neesom said when he heard about the youth group’s difficulties in gaining the finance to convert the old boiler house, he decided it was a worthwhile project to support. “It also occurred to me that some of the young people may in the future become engineers,” he added.
“As chairman and joint managing director of Hunprenco I hope that this venture becomes a reality and the young people respect and enjoy it.”
Announcing the news at Wednesday night’s meeting of the parish council, to applause, youth group chairman Lavinia Kirk said: “HYPO would like to say a very big thank you to John Kniveton for his efforts. This project can now get on its way, and we hope everyone in the general public will support us.”
Cllr Mullin added that the group and the young people of the village were “so grateful” to Mr Nessom. “They’re absolutely over the moon. It means we can get the work done much sooner than we thought.”
However, she said it did not stop the fund-raising as they would still have running costs to find.
The group’s next fund-raising event is a young people’s fashion show to be held in the community centre on Saturday, May 21.