TWO teenage girls have raised more than £15,000 and spent 18 months converting a disused hall into a youth club. Belinda Theaker and Tasha Read, both from Bluntisham, have overseen the project, doing much of the basic work themselves as well as managing t
TWO teenage girls have raised more than £15,000 and spent 18 months converting a disused hall into a youth club.
Belinda Theaker and Tasha Read, both from Bluntisham, have overseen the project, doing much of the basic work themselves as well as managing tradesmen, such as electricians, for specialised tasks.
The two 17-year-olds hope to have the project finished this August, giving the village's youngsters somewhere to chill out.
Their efforts have also put them in line for a Yopey award (The SkillsTrain Young People of the Year), in which they could win £2,000.
The girls were previously part of a village gang called The Blunti Massive and have named the centre Blassive Dreamz.
The gang used to hang around Bluntisham's new village hall, especially when the weather was bad, but were said to be regarded by adults as potential troublemakers because of the way they looked.
Belinda said: "We would huddle in the doorway to try to get out of the wind and the rain. We did wear hoodies and some of the boys had mopeds and smoked."
But the girls are adamant none of the gang were really troublemakers. "It was just the image we were projecting," Belinda said.
One night, the members of the Blunti Massive met Tracy Hyland, a youth worker with an organisation called Young Lives, who worked with the gang to find a place they could meet.
The parish council suggested the old village hall, which had been a mobile classroom and a doctor's surgery, but at the time was used occasionally as a sports changing room.
"When you look at it from the outside it looks like a big shed, but we have made it somewhere special to go," said Belinda.
Originally, five members of Blunti Massive agreed to raise the funds, but over time that came down to just Belinda and Tasha.
The girls estimate they have each put in about a day a week as they cleared out the building, filled two skips with old furniture, and painted the hall inside and out.
New windows, rewiring and new flooring are being done by craftsmen.
The girls have also obtained grants, with Belinda, who is taking A-levels at Abbey College, in Ramsey, doing the paperwork.
There are now three rooms, the largest for playing pool and watching TV, a computer room and a chill-out room plus a small kitchen.
The girls are taking formal training in running a youth club so they can run Blassive Dreamz with support from adult volunteers.
Tasha said: "I hope we've got a better reputation with the council now."
INFORMATION: The Yopey awards ceremony will be in Huntingdon on July 2. Nominations are closed.