Help is at hand for young people in town

Teenagers enjoy a game of pool at the Louth Thirteen Plus Project. (Inset: Brenda Maltby and Chloe Jackson)
Teenagers enjoy a game of pool at the Louth Thirteen Plus Project. (Inset: Brenda Maltby and Chloe Jackson)

The Louth Thirteen Plus Project is appealing for new people to go along to their events and support the scheme for the benefit of young people in the town.

Brenda Maltby has worked with young people for 28 years, having previously worked for the Youth Service in Lincolnshire.

The Thirteen Plus Project took on the lease at the youth centre in Park Avenue after it became available in 2011.

Although the primary focus of the project is 11-19 year olds, there are various events each week which are open to a variety of ages.

Events such as DOTS (Don’t Over Think Stuff) are for young people with autism or special learning needs, while Dom’s Place will support those with mental health issues.

The Young Carers group provides respite for teenagers with additional responsibilities at home, while the ‘Open Door’ drop-in sessions are welcoming to all.

Chloe Jackson, 19, is now a support worker at the Thirteen Plus Project, and spends a lot of her free time volunteering there too.

But it hasn’t always been that way.

Just three-and-a-
half-years ago, at the age of 16, Chloe walked through 
the door for the first time and found an escape from the stress and suffering that had been blighting her teenage life - and she believes that she ‘wouldn’t be here now’ if it hadn’t been for the support of Brenda and the team.

Chloe said: “I was getting down. I was 16, at college, not living with my parents, getting grief at college, and family issues got on top of me a lot.

“Here was a bit of an escape, and as soon as I walked through that door I felt welcome and 
helped - and within two weeks of walking through 
that door I was volunteering.”

Chloe added: “I was in a very bad place and I had it pretty rough, but they’ve helped me through it and I’ve changed as a person for the better since I’ve walked through that door, and I like the person I am now. I’m a lot happier.”

Chloe now helps young people to face their own battles at Louth Thirteen Plus, in addition to volunteering 
at the local theatre and hunting for full-time work 
in events management 
or youth work.

The project’s other support worker was told by a teacher that she would never achieve anything when she was just 11-years-old, and Brenda worked with her through the project.

Now, 10 years later, one of Brenda’s many career highlights was going to watch that same child - now all 
grown up - graduate with a BA Honours degree 
last November.

As a charity, the Thirteen Plus Project will need further support - both in terms of attendance and finance - in order to continue serving young people, their parents and 
the local community.

• To support the project, call 01507 602868 or 07507 605593, or email: