Children are having fun – by going down the pub for club
A PUB might not be the typical place for a kids club, but it's proved the perfect tonic for parents and children.
Mum-of-three Kirsty Gardner, 32, runs two kids clubs a week – paid for with her benefits – to keep children off the streets.
It is a popular service for children, who enjoy a disco, party games and more at the Smokers Arms and the Mariners Rest, in Albion Street, Grimsby.
But Kirsty is struggling to keep it going and seeks sponsorship from businesses and the kindhearted.
Kirsty said: "I do it all for the kids. This is the only venue available and it works because parents come, too. They stop and socialise while we entertain the kids."
Kirsty, who dresses up, DJs and dances, survives on £132 a week in child benefits – £17 of which pays for the club.
She said: "We are managing, but to do more we need to raise more.
"If we had more money we could make it more special."
Kirsty is helped by daughter Liberty Larsen, 14, a pupil at Havelock Academy, and her friend, Chelsea Nesbitt, 15.
They raised £200 for Comic Relief by dressing up in their pyjamas and letting the kids throw cream pies at them.
Kerry Wilson, 33, takes children, Rosie Reynolds, 9, and Oliver Reynolds, 4, to the club each week. She said: "It gives the kids a nice time after school. They come out and meet other kids while I meet other parents."
Morgan Wortley, 10, and Izzy Clark, 11, dressed up in their pyjamas for Comic Relief.
Morgan said: "It is fun. I like the music and dancing."
Kirsty will be holding an Easter party with buffet, games and disco on Easter Sunday at the Mariners Rest from 2pm to 5pm.
The club meets each Wednesday from 4pm to 7pm at the Smokers Arms and every Sunday from 2pm to 5pm at the Mariners Rest. Call Kirsty on 0787 3683839.
SHOULD children be taken to pubs by parents from an early age?
In fact, the kids taken to pubs in Grimsby, which we read about today, go to attend a club, rather than to sit with their socialising parents.
But it’s an interesting aside that leads to a debate over how our neighbours on the Continent grow up with alcohol but have fewer alcohol-related crimes and drink issues than Britain.
Should youngsters grow up thinking pubs are the norm, or wait until they are legally allowed to drink, the argument being that potentially unleashes an alcohol timebomb?
But how best to tackle it?
Is minimum pricing, a topic currently in the news as it continues to be discussed by MPs, the answer?
David Cameron has pledged to stop cheap alcohol being sold in supermarkets but there are fears he is getting cold feet after opposition from Cabinet members.
A base price of 45p per unit in England and Wales has been suggested but a number of cabinet ministers, including Home Secretary Theresa May, have made it clear they are against such a move.
But the British Medical Association and other health bodies are adamant a minimum pricing policy is the only answer to save 1,000 lives a year in what they call the biggest health issue since it was discovered that smoking kills.
Would having a minimum pricing policy also help pubs, many of which have closed due to cheap booze at supermarkets taking their custom away?
Add your comment below on this issue or in relation to the kids’ club.