A NEW youth group is hoping to set up a permanent base in Kingswinford and Wall Heath but need the help of the public to the scheme off the ground.

The KW Youth Centre was originally set up by local residents who wanted to get Kingswinford Youth Centre – which has been lying derelict for the past five years – back into use.

Following a Facebook status by Gary Hall, he was inundated with messages from adult volunteers, including former ward councillor Natalie Neale, who want to see a youth club in the village once again.

The group are now in need of funds to give them a starting point to launch a club, so are hosting a fish and chip supper and auction event at the Prince Albert pub in Wall Heath on Thursday (September 14).

Natalie said: “We were told the youth centre was up for sale so we thought we would try and get a group back into it, but apparently Dudley Council has now sold it so we are going to have to find a new base instead.

“But to do that we need to raise funds so we can rent a building for permanent use as a youth centre.

“The landlord of the pub is really supportive of what we’re trying to do and has given us the function room for free, which we are very grateful for.

“If we can just raise the money we need to get our feet off the ground then we can try and snowball it into something really worthwhile.

“It is going to be a really good night.”

Entry to the event, which starts at 7.30pm, costs £6 and includes a fish supper from the Village Fish and Chip shop.

During the evening, prizes which have been donated to the group – including a Hickory’s voucher and flute lessons – will be auctioned off to help raise extra funds.

Tickets for the event, as well as more information about the group, is available by on the KW Youth Centre Facebook page.

The move to start a new youth centre has been welcomed by members of the community, who want to see an increase of youth provision in the area.

Natalie said: “There’s been a lot of petty crime and vandalism taking place in the area recently and with no services for young people in Kingswinford and Wall Heath we need to do something to get the kids off the streets.

“Why the council ever closed the youth centre in the first place is beyond me, and for a purpose built building in the high street to just be left derelict for five years is a crying shame.

“Young people now have to travel far too long get to youth services. If they want to do anything active they have to go all the way to the Crystal in Stourbridge or to Wombourne or to Dudley.

“We desperately need something here in Kingswinford which is why so many people agree and are willing to back a new youth centre.”

Natalie added: “We already have a lot of adult volunteers on board, as well as a number of young people who have expressed their interest.

“And if anyone knows any suitable buildings in Kingswinford or Wall Heath which are available to rent, or any local businesses who would want to work with us, please let us know.”