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edited by jo talbot. email: jotalbot@leisuremedia.com
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paul marshallsea
We can add
Inspired by his own son’s struggle with drugs
200-700 new
in a deprived community in Wales, Paul
members to
Marshallsea created a sport and activity
your club
project to turn young people’s lives around
without you
What is the Engine House?
lifting a finger
2002, we had raised £1m funding to
The Engine House is a community project renovate the building, create a playing
or paying
offering sport and activities to young area and buy sports equipment.
people in Dowlais, near Merthyr Tydfi l,
a penny
Wales. It’s based in an 18th-century What’s on offer?
iron works and caters for 23 sporting We have football and netball courts,
teams as well as 550 young people and and we run dance classes, yoga classes,
24 local organisations, seven days and kickboxing and street dance. We also
nights a week. We’ve raised £1.5m to have 10 ZigZag dance mats which are
develop and run this project so far. incredibly popular. At the weekends it’s
not unusual to have 150 youngsters
What led you to this project? queueing to use them, and we’re raising
I’ve worked as an ice cream salesman, funds to buy another 10. In addition to
a coal merchant and a bus transport the facilities on-site, we take the kids on
manager, but I’ve always had a real outside activities – to outdoor pursuit
passion for helping young people. centres, camping, or to skate parks.
My son Stephen started taking drugs at The building also houses an internet
a very early age, and I soon found out café and a £60,000 computer room. Plus
there were lots of other families going youngsters can learn to play the guitar and
through the same pain but saying nothing drums, be part of a storytelling session or
about it because of a sense of shame. I cookery lesson, or attend the weekend E

decided to do something about it, but I youth club, which has 187 members.
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WID
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didn’t know what. The very next day
E

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there was a public viewing of the Engine What else do you do?
House building. I knew that day that this We carry out community projects







T
H
building was where I was going to carry with our young people. So far, we’ve

out my calling. spent £150,000 on 14 environmental



garden projects in the local area,

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How did you acquire it? including a £40,000 picnic area and

S

H
E
I already ran a youth club, and we outdoor classroom at a local school.
A
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H
begged the council to allow us to take The work helps the kids to own part of

C
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on the lease on the Engine House. After their community and really care what
a two-year campaign, they agreed. By it looks like. We also have a job club
facilitator who works to help our young
people into full-time employment.
CREATIVE FITNESS
What results have you seen?
MARKETING
The area’s antisocial behaviour rate AUSTRALIA NEW ZEALAND UNITED KINGDOM IRELAND USA CANADA
has dropped a staggering 80 per cent
since the project opened. The local
young people can now see some
www.creativefitness.net
light at the end of the tunnel.
What’s next?
We’re looking to raise another

Marshallsea (right) meets Prince £2m so we can put in another fl oor
Call Dave Wright
Charles who toured the project to run even more activities.
or Chevy Kelly

to find out how
0870-270-6667
january 2009 © cybertrek 2009
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