Centre celebrates 40 years helping youths
A CELEBRATION to mark the first 40 years of the Shalom Youth Centre will be led by the Bishop of Lincoln.
The popular Grimsby youth club, at the junction of Rutland Street and Roberts Street, is attached to St John and St Stephen Church and will host Bishop Christopher Lowson for a special celebration service.
He chose the Grimsby church and youth club as the venue where he was named as the latest Bishop of Lincoln.
He will lead the service from 8pm on Wednesday and light a number of candles to mark the anniversary.
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The priest in charge, Canon John Ellis, has kept a hand-written record of all the names of all those who have been looked after at the club since 1972.
The book lists a total of 3,645 members in all and the club has also issued its latest annual report featuring a photograph from the era on its front cover.
Canon Ellis said: "It was before the days of designer clothing and a time when it was wall-to-wall denim.
"Since then we have had nearly 4,000 members and the number of those who ended up a danger to themselves or to others could be counted in single figures."
He said he hoped as many of the former members as possible would attend the service of celebration and bring along souvenirs from their days at Shalom.
He recalled 19 young people attending the opening night on September 29, 1972, when Shalom opened its doors for the first time.
They enjoyed games of Twister and table tennis on a table with three legs in an old pre-fab hut.
The Bishop of Lincoln will be joined by North East Lincolnshire Council Deputy Mayor, Councillor Peggy Elliott at the event. She will present awards to the young people.
Friends will be travelling from across the UK to be with the group.
Canon Ellis said: "Our mission is to reach children and young people at risk in the East Marsh area and through sustained long-term relationships to enable them to become functioning adults.
"It is about sustained long-term relationships, which is the simple process that lies at the heart of all our work here.
"What makes the difference in the lives of young people , particularly those most at risk, is relationships with adults they can trust who will not stand up and walk out on them when they sing out of tune."
The club has had a drop in funding of late.
Last year the whole project ran on £197,000 which the canon said "must be value for money."
He said: "We would be unable to operate if it were not for the volunteers who give of their time and energy week after week.
"Since March this year their contribution has amounted, in kind, to £5,516."