2 March 2024

‘We were inundated by donations within 20 minutes’

By Rebecca Hannant

A youth facility in Withernsea has been inundated with furniture donations after putting out an appeal on social media.

Organisers of Withernsea Youth Action, which is based at the Hut, at the end of the Station Road car park, were desperate to replace their old furniture, which had been heavily used by the children and was also somewhat unfit for the surroundings.

In response, they sent out a plea via social media asking for donations for their living room space.

Community Play Ranger team leader Max Altoft said: “We were sitting for the past couple of weeks desperate for new furniture, and we were looking at all this furniture online. Everything was coming in at hundreds of pounds. I told Suzanne that we could not pay for the furniture. I said there’s enough second-hand furniture that’s still good enough, and I’m sure someone will donate it.

“Before I even finished my sentence, Suzanne put a status on, and we were inundated within the first 20 minutes. The response was amazing. I think she was getting somewhat annoyed with it. Her phone was pinging all night.”

“By the next morning, we had all this furniture. She was turning stuff away left, right and centre.”

The youth club took delivery of donated sofas and chairs, along with a new rug, which they use in one of the recreational rooms.

Max added: “Since we’ve had this furniture in, we’ve noticed a massive difference in the way the kids have automatically turned it into a house. It’s turned into more of a front living room for them. The kids already love it. It is amazing to see the difference when they walk into that room. It’s amazing how furniture can change how people relax.

“We’ve got the big screen that comes down for playing Fifa. They can get whatever games they want and just sit and chill out.”

Team member Suzanne Carter added: “We have decided that because it is so snug in there that the kids see it as home from home, so now we are going to turn it into a home-from-home living room. We plan to make it a bit maturer with dark greys and light greys and make it fit with the furniture.

“Once we set it up with more mature décor, the older kids will be able to use it to sit and watch TV and play on the WiFi.”

The newly revamped room has also inspired staff to look for other cost-effective ways to pep up the centre.

The old chairs will now be used in the pool room, providing more seating space for those enjoying or watching a game. The chairs will also be renovated with graffiti shower curtains to cover up the tears and make them more appealing to the children.

Max added: “When they’re doing pool tournaments and things like that as well, you get quite a lot hanging around the pool table, and they’ve got nowhere to sit.”

The youth club is now looking to create a new charity and committee group, which they will use to open the door to more funding opportunities and activities.

Max added: “We are now in the process of opening the bank accounts and setting up as a charity and committee group. We have some parents on board; we have a chairman and a treasurer. This will be how we secure our funding. We will also create a Facebook page under the name Team Hut.

“So instead of putting a begging announcement out, we can do it all a bit more properly. If people have something they want to donate, they know exactly where to go.”

Suzanne added: “We realised that a lot of people wanted to donate, and the response was so
good. We thought we might as well do it.”

In the coming weeks, the outside play area will also undergo renovations, including new decking, which is expected to be completed by Easter. By then, they expect to need new benches and outdoor furniture.

The club is also looking for donations of items that are in decent and safe condition for the children to use. Items can include games, sports equipment and art and craft supplies.

Suzanne added: “Budgets keep the building running. The kids would like a TV with smart apps. We have had the same TV for around 14 years – it’s an old TV, the aerial is rubbish, and we don’t have the apps. The kids would like a smart TV where they can watch Netflix and go on YouTube. Obviously, we can put all the parental settings on it. Unfortunately, our budgets won’t stretch to a new one.”

The youth club mainly caters to those aged eight to 14 and provides a range of activities including sports, games, cooking, arts and crafts and more.

Suzanne said: “The youth club is open all year round. It is a free-play facility – kids can come and go as they please. They can do whatever they want. It depends on what kids we get in to see what we do. If a kid wants to sit and play Fifa, we will get the Fifa out. If they want to play dodge ball outside, we’ll play dodge ball. Usually, through the summer, we do tend to put a little bit of structure in.

“We also have a range of activities for the younger ones, including biscuit decorating.”

For more information, visit the Hut Facebook page.