Leafield Youth Club receives pool table thanks to Leafield Community Gym!

WHEN Leafield Youth Club recently reopened after a 12-year absence, its leaders wanted to offer their members as many activities as possible.

The only problem was it would take time to raise the necessary funds. But thanks to Leafield Community Gym, the youngsters didn’t have to wait long to get hold of what was top of their wish list – a pool table.

The 6ft portable pool table was presented to youth club leader Jo Williams by Gym chairman Nick Birtley at the youth club on Thursday May 19th.

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“We were so impressed by the impact the youth club has had in Leafield that we wanted to help,” said Nick. “The gym has been another success story and, as a non-profit-making organisation, we always said we wanted to plough any surplus funds back into the community. And this is a really worthy cause. We hope it gives the youngsters lots of pleasure.”

Jo added: “I can’t thank the Gym enough for their very generous gesture. When we asked the members what they would like most, a pool table was their top priority. They used it all night after the presentation – both boys and girls. They are very happy.”

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There hasn’t been a youth club in Leafield since 2004 and Jo was involved then as a volunteer helper, with a membership that reached around 70.

“Gradually, though, the leaders and committee members stopped coming and it was just me and another parent doing everything. In the end, it became too much and we had to call it a day.”

It was as a child that Jo first came to experience the joys of the youth club in the village hall. Her mother, Ann, helped run it and Jo’s memories of those days convinced her that reopening the youth club was long overdue.

“It is so important to the young people in Leafield, particularly those without the transport available to take them elsewhere. It’s all about helping them build friendships, interacting with their peers and having adults around who they can speak to.

“If we can make a difference, that’s fantastic,” she said.

Jackie Dixon volunteered to be assistant leader to Jo so she could help young people in memory of her son, Zak Harper, who died in September, 2014, at the age of 21. She and Zak’s stepfather, Richard, have raised nearly £20,000 through donations to their JustGiving page – with the mental health charity Oxfordshire Mind a beneficiary.

The youth club opened in April and had 14 members on its first night. Weeks later and numbers are up to 30, with about 10 enthusiastic adults sharing the rota. Thursday sessions are split into two age groups: Years 6-7, 6-7.30pm; years 8-11, 7.30-9pm. Cost: £2 per session. For more details, email leafieldyouthclub@outlook.com

Leafield Community Gym, which opened in November 2014 in the pavilion next to the village hall, has a range of memberships available. Find out more on the Gym page on this website, or email leafieldgym@gmail.com.