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Charity is hoping for a funding boost to help young people in Lowestoft

PUBLISHED: 17:00 28 May 2015

Topcats, which supports young people between 5-30 are raising money to refurbish and improve their building.

Topcats, which supports young people between 5-30 are raising money to refurbish and improve their building.

© Archant 2015

A small charity based in Pakefield which provides activities and opportunities for young people with disabilities and additional needs is looking to raise £25,000 to improve its facilities.

Sara Poppy (dep manager), Frank Mortimer and Kate Osborne (manager). Pictures: Nick ButcherSara Poppy (dep manager), Frank Mortimer and Kate Osborne (manager). Pictures: Nick Butcher

Topcats, in Morton Road, works with young adults between the age of five and 30 years old. It was taken over by manager Kate Osborne and deputy manager Sara Poppy in 2013.

About 80 young people access the facility each week, which is partly grant-funded by Activities Unlimited. It has made significant improvements to the general layout and also introduced more specific programmes targeted at young people over the past year.

The Choices Project, which is led by fellow deputy manager Grace Harvey, allows the young adults to complete work experience and participate in activities including swimming and gym, spa days, horse riding and bowling.

There is also the chance to attend after-school clubs and a gig night each month, attended by live musicians.

Ms Poppy described how the charity is “people-centred” and is now looking to fund-raise for new timber fencing and gates to ensure the area is secure, along with paint for further decorating and a new sensory garden.

It is holding a charity ball on Saturday, May 30 at the Corton Inn Function Room with live music, a buffet, a disco and a raffle.

Ms Osborne said: “We have worked very hard collectively to get Topcats to where it is now.

“I think the quality of what we are offering is better now, as we have really homed in on what we can offer.

“We support people during the day with the choices programme and our after-school club is also a vital service. It alleviates pressures at home, as those extra three hours can have a massive impact on family and home life. We have referrals and people who come to us from Activities Unlimited and social workers but most of the time it is direct from parents who have heard about Topcats.”

Chairman Frank Mortimer, who is also a Waveney district councillor, said the facility is “one of the only ones in the county” which plays a “vital role in the community”.

“If this facility was not here then where would these young people go?,” he said.

“We are waiting on Suffolk County Council for a 99-year lease, which we will hopefully sign in new weeks.

“This will mean we could get Lottery funding and the name of Topcats will be wider known.

“This place has gone from leaps to bounds and I am proud to be part of it.”

Tickets for the charity ball are available from Topcats headquarters in Morton Road at £20 for adults and £10 for children.

For more details call 07975 830430 or visit www.topcats.org.uk

Do you run an important facility for young people? Email joe.randlesome@archant.co.uk

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