Mother seeks funds for Burgess Hill youth club after destructive fire

Thea Garwood, Charlee Sadler and Sam Hoodless, regular attendees at the club, at a DJ skills event
Thea Garwood, Charlee Sadler and Sam Hoodless, regular attendees at the club, at a DJ skills event

A mother has started a fundraising campaign to replace equipment belonging to a youth club, which was destroyed in a fire last week.

Calley Bryson’s fourteen-year-old son Josh, who has autism, has been attending Respect youth club in Leylands Park for more than a year.

Calley said: “It’s one of the few places he goes that he feels safe and welcome.

“It’s a massive loss to us as a family.”

Four fire engines were called to the blaze at 3am on Tuesday, October 18 at the NTC hut, where the club meets every Tuesday evening.

Calley, 35, who lives in Maple Drive just a short distance from building, had heard the fire engines. When they found out what had happened, she said: “My son was really upset.”

Calley is hoping to raise enough money to replace the equipment so that the club, which is still looking for a new venue, can get back up and running as soon as possible.

Julia Rye, 47, of the Hawthorns, who runs the club, said she was devastated by the news of the fire.

“We lost all our equipment- the TV, our games, the snooker table, table tennis set, craft items, tuck shop items, footballs,” she said.

Around 20 young people aged nine to 16 attend the club, which first started nine years ago. It has a ‘relaxed’ atmosphere where members are free to choose what to do – from playing rounders or xbox to just having a chat.

Julia said: “This has made me realise how important the club is, as so many of the children have messaged me.

“They were really upset and wanting to know where we would go now.”

She said the club had already received offers of donations and said: “It’s been lovely to see that people want to support us.”

Anyone willing to donate can visit the just giving page

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