Young hearts are free in Donington

The management committee of Flinders Founders which is helping to make Donington a better place for young people in the village.
The management committee of Flinders Founders which is helping to make Donington a better place for young people in the village.

The office of a Donington timber firm is arranged for a board meeting but there are no company directors in sight.

Yet the annual general meeting of Flinders Founders, a youth group for 11 to 19-year-olds named after 19th century navigator Matthew Flinders, is run with the same degree of professionalism.

Flinders Founders chairman Alicia Inglis, grants and funding officer Joe Gott and treasurer Melanie Bristow.

Flinders Founders chairman Alicia Inglis, grants and funding officer Joe Gott and treasurer Melanie Bristow.

Chairman Alicia Inglis (17) said: “Flinders Founders is helping to make Donington a better place for young people so they can hang around the village without people judging them.

“People can come to any of our monthly meetings to see what the group is about and we have information points at events in Donington where members can talk to people about how we are improving the village.”

Since it was founded in 2006, the group has been responsible for organising some of Donington’s most popular events such as Party in the Park, a children’s Easter Egg hunt and a firework display.

Margaret Wright, the group’s secretary, said: “There was nothing in Donington for young peeple except a park that was badly run down, a children’s slide and swings that were eventually taken away because of vandalism.

“Someone approached me about getting the young people to come forward and do something, so we named the group after Matthew Flinders who has a big place in the history of Donington.”

The group has achieved a notable collection of successes, including the opening of a £120,000 teen park with shelter, skateboarding obstacles and BMX track in May 2008.

Treasurer Melanie Bristow (20) said: “The teen park was an idea which started when we put the group together and from then on, we’ve based all our fundraising on keeping to secure.

“Party in the Park is our main fundraising event of the year and everyone comes for free to watch local bands, enjoy fairground rides, face painting and balloon games.

“We try to make it as family-friendly as possible and the event is appreciated because it stops kids from causing trouble in the village.”

Flinders Founders’ chief aim of promoting a positive image of young people in Donington has been recognised by the Royal Horticultural Society who gave the group an outstanding level It’s Your Neighbourhood award.

Elliott Moran (11), one of the group’s newest members, said: “Flinders Founders is fun, interesting and I’m really proud to say I’m part of it.”

Create, maintain and improve

Flinders Founders runs in keeping with a seven-point action plan in its constitution which includes creating new friendships, maintaining the teean park and improving the village for young people.

In her report for 2013, chairman Alicia Inglis said: “Some of our members of helped with watering plants in the village, doing daily litter picks in the teen park and working closely with other organisations like Donington Parish Council.

“We make new friendships because the group is made up of people from the same age group and everyone gets on with each other really well.”

The group was recently given a lucrative vote of confidence after organisations such as Lincolnshire County Council, WREN Landfill Communities Fund and South Holland District Council handed out grants totalling almost £40,000 to improve the teen park.

Alicia said: “It’s great achievement to raise almost £40,000 for the teen park.”