GRIMSBY Town defender Josh Gowling was the special guest as YMCA Humber’s Immingham youth club christened its new home at the Bert Boyden Centre in the town.
Josh cut the ribbon as the club officially opened at the new venue, having being housed in the past at Oasis Academy Immingham and the Margaret Street Resource Centre.
The club attracts over 40 young people aged 8-18 each week for facilitated activities, such as pool, table football, arts and crafts and woodwork.
Promoting integration, community work and giving young people a voice to discuss what they would like to see in their local area, the club has been praised by local councillors for reducing anti-social behaviour in the town.
Josh stayed to sign autographs and have photographs taken with some of the young people from the group and he was impressed with what he saw.
He said: “In this time of social media and computers, it can sometimes be difficult to get young people out of the house and enjoying different things and they sometimes get a bad rap for it.
“So clubs like this are exactly what they need and you can see that everyone is enjoying it, they come in their numbers every week and there are people from different age groups, interests and backgrounds all enjoying different activities.”
Josh didn’t fare too well on the table football but was enthused by the football skills shown by some of the young people in the group, many of whom enjoyed a trip to Blundell Park last season thanks to Grimsby Town Sports and Education Trust.
He continued: “It was nice to meet some Town fans here, both young and old!
“I like to give things back to the community – all the lads do – but especially with the younger fans because they are the ones that are going to mean the football club has a bright future.”
Phoebe, 13, was one of the young people at the club and she had the pleasure of playing at Blundell Park last season in one of the half-time games.
She said: “I love football and it’s great to get one of the Grimsby Town players down here.
“I like going to the games and my favourite player is Omar Bogle.
“I also like playing football and I sometimes get to practice my skills at the club.”
Jocelyn Dennis, 28, is the group leader and she spoke of her delight at Josh’s involvement.
She added: “It was great for Josh to come down and meet the group and see what it is we are all about.
“A lot of them are massive Grimsby fans and they enjoyed their trip to Blundell Park last season.
“So it was great for them to meet Josh and it means a lot that one of their favourite players has taken time to be with them.”
The Immingham Youth Club is held every Monday (apart from Bank Holidays) at the Bert Boyden Centre on Sackville Road in Immingham between 6pm and 7.45pm. The age range is 8-18-year-olds and the cost is 50p per session, per person.
Pictures: Town defender Josh Gowling cuts the ribbon at the opening of YMCA Humber's youth club at the Bert Boyden Centre in Immingham on Monday night. Josh is seen pictured with Grimsby Town fan Reece Bradwell (13), playing table football alongside Reece, Dennon Baker (11), Phoebe Salter (13) and YMCA's Outreach Youth Worker Jocelyn Dennis.