Youth project under threat after raiders strike again

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A YOUTH project run by local volunteers in south-west Leeds is under threat following the third break-in at its premises within a year.

The Cottingley Youth Project, an after-school club for 11 to 13 year olds, has had computer equipment stolen in three separate break-ins at Cottingley Church and community centre on Cottingley Approach, Leeds.

The project was started last year as a part of the church’s work in the community.

The computers had been used to help the young people at the project do their homework but the break-ins have left the project with just one computer to use between fifteen young people.

Project founder, the Revd Jude Smith, said last night: “We rely heavily on the small number of computers we have for everything from research to word processing.

“Each time we lose computers it directly affects Cottingley young people’s ability to keep up at school: an attack on the project is an attack on the wider community.”

The aim of the project is to provide a safe place for students in years seven and eight to come and complete homework with trained support.

After a year, the project, mainly staffed by volunteers, gained grant funding to employ a youth worker, but yesterday church bosses said the series of break-ins has put the future of the project under threat.

In the latest break in, which happened on Friday, February 17 or Saturday, February 18 - just two weeks after three computers were stolen - thieves once again targeted the project. They broke a window at the church and community premises before making off with two machines.

Police are appealing for local witnesses to get in touch to help solve the crime.

Anyone with any information should ring Holbeck Neighbourhood Policing Team on West Yorkshire Police’s new non-emergency 101 number.