A SCHEME which gives youngsters the chance to have fun and learn new skills could have to close, unless it can find £10,000.

The Triple T’s project has been run by Southend Association of Voluntary Services for three years, offering free educational activities, such as arts and crafts, sports, dance, environmental projects, and first aid.

It runs two weekly youth clubs on the town’s Queensway and Woodgrange estates and activity sessions during the school holidays.

The project was set up three years ago, with funding from the BBC’s Children In Need appeal, but last month the charity told organisers it could no longer support it.

Southend Association of Voluntary Services says Triple T’s needs £10,000 to continue its work, largely with children from deprived areas.

Anthony Quinn, of Turning Tides, one of the groups involved with the clubs, said: “We’ve built up the project over three years and we’ve seen how successful it’s been.

“We hope people will understand how important the club is for the children in disadvantaged areas in Southend.

“They get the chance to learn new skills, feel part of a community and make new friends, without any financial burden on their families.

“They might live in a disadvantaged area, but we aim to make sure the children aren’t disadvantaged in the opportunities they have.”

As well as activities, youngsters get to visit and tour places such as fire stations, Southend police station, and the lifeboat station.

Some children, who can’t afford a summer holiday, even get to go and stay in Derbyshire.

Mum Emma Payne, of Sutton Road, Southend, sends three of her children tothe Queensway Club, in Grange Gardens, every Monday.

She said: “All four of my kids have gone through the clubs, and our second eldest even volunteers there now, helping with the younger children.

“They all love it, and they look forward to going every week. It’s good for them to mix with children from other schools and it gives them independence.

“The club does so much, not just with the children, but for the community.

“My two younger girls would be devastated if they knew it could stop.”

If you can help, call Anthony Quinn, on 01702 220103, or e-mail ttmanager @savs-southend.co.uk