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Barking youth charity in funding crisis

PUBLISHED: 15:06 10 September 2012 | UPDATED: 15:28 11 September 2012

Louis Olusina (back row, far left) and c2c's Julian Drury (back row, fourth from the left) with the Charis under-12 football team

Louis Olusina (back row, far left) and c2c's Julian Drury (back row, fourth from the left) with the Charis under-12 football team

Archant

A Barking charity that provides sport and life skills training to young people faces an uncertain future as it fights to keep a roof over its head.

The Charis Project, which supports more than 60 young children aged from eight to eighteen, has been struggling to meet its £40,000 annual fees for over a year as the recession has seen charities compete for dwindling funding pots.

“It’s a very tough climate at the moment,” said Louis Olusina, who founded the club in 2003. “In the past eight months all the funding we have applied for has been rejected.”

The youth charity’s greatest difficulty has been in securing grants to meet its core costs, in particular the rent for its office on Ripple Road, as funds are awarded for specific projects and dry up once they have finished.

“We have people who have been volunteers with us for a very long time who want to become part-time, but we cannot afford to do that,” added Mr Olusina.

Charis carries out much of its works in troubled communities, and helps young people deal with issues such as drug and alcohol abuse, crime, teenage pregnancy, truancy, poverty and prison.

It also offers the chance to get involved in a range of activities including sport, drama, music and design and technology.

Its founder, who received a community champion award in recognition of his volunteering efforts, insists that government and local businesses should do more to invest in the young people of the borough.

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“I believe that the future is the younger generation,” he said.

“We have just witnessed an Olympics that has touched a lot of lives and I believe that if the government actually contributed to helping grassroot clubs like ours to emerge, many of the young people working with us would have a future in the next Olympics.”

In recognition of Mr Olusina’s hard work and personal sacrifices, National Express train operator c2c recently donated £1,000 to the Charis Project and agreed to pay the organisation’s rental costs until February 2013, the only company so far this year to offer funding.

“The situation is very delicate. We don’t know what will happen tomorrow.” said Mr Olusina. “Except for the intervention of private companies. We are in a very difficult situation.”

For more information about the Charis Project visit charisproject.com or call 02085 327318. To give a donation visit localgiving.com.


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