St Leonards youth group in danger of closing

Former mayor and councillor Maureen Charlesworth with Respond Academy at a recent fundraiser
Former mayor and councillor Maureen Charlesworth with Respond Academy at a recent fundraiser

A youth group is in danger of closing down forever unless it can raise enough funds to keep running.

Respond Academy faces an uncertain future and needs to raise as much cash as it can to keep going.

Co-founder Jc McFee said: “We need to raise £10,000 as soon as possible or we will be evicted within the next few weeks. Despite the eviction cloud we are determined to carry on as long as possible on a positive vibe for our incredibly talented members and we are very excited with future events to try and raise funds.

“But while we are waiting we need monies to carry on with our summer workshops, running costs and future plans. People can go to our website and donate directly at”

The academy has been involved in numerous community festivals, projects and events for more than 12 years.

It works predominately with disadvantaged young people suffering issues relating to their everyday life circumstances or lack of choices, Ms McFee added.

Dale Shaw attended Respond Academy when he was 12. He said: “Jc and Pablo started running groups at our youth centre in Hollington.

“People can turn to Respond Academy for support in a time of need/desperation when they have nowhere else to turn. I feel it should be supported, not shut down due to disputed service charges as this is an invaluable service. I am now in full-time employment and highly benefited from Respond Academy in my younger years, as have many of my friends.”

Keith Rodway, creative director of the Trash’d New Wave Festival, said: “I have direct experience of the extremely valuable work the academy does in the community, helping disadvantaged young people deal with challenges in their lives that are often left otherwise unaddressed by mainstream agencies.

“The work Respond does is of incalculable value to many young people living in central St Leonards. It would be a scandal if the academy was forced to close.”

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