Former members and staff of Maufant Variety Youth Project are being invited to a special birthday party on Sunday 1 June to celebrate the club’s 30th anniversary on the current site.
Andy Harris, the Senior Youth Worker at Maufant, said: “Hundreds, probably thousands of young people have enjoyed the Club over the years and had a great time here. We’re asking everyone to get in touch with their pictures and memories so that we can put together a definitive history of the Maufant Variety Youth Project.”
The current centre was opened in 1984 by the Queen Mother and a JEP photo of her playing pool with one of the members was used in newspapers around the world. The project was supported by the Variety Club of Jersey, whose members worked hard to get the new centre built. Before that, it had operated from the Berni Community Centre behind St Martin’s Catholic Church from the mid/early 1970s.
For many years Maufant was run by husband-and-wife team Norma and Cliff Batchelor, who were at the heart of the venue and will be joining the 30th birthday celebrations. Mr Harris, who is himself a former member, explained: “It was just one of those places. It was very much ‘your’ club and hopefully that’s the way it’s always going to be for the young people that use it.
“It’s been a very special place for many young people. To be going strong 30 years later says a lot about what it means to the area. Everyone remembers Norma and Cliff, who left a wonderful legacy for the young people in the area. Today it’s as vibrant as ever – we have 170 members and a wide range of activities.”
One of the current members, 15-year-old Georgena Piziura, said: “I enjoy coming to Maufant because it gives me a chance to express myself in ways that school doesn’t. It’s always fun and educational and the staff are always welcoming.”
Deputy Rod Bryans, ESC Assistant Minister with responsibility for Youth, said: “Maufant is a gem. It’s been loved by the people who have passed through its doors and has consistently been one of the Island’s most popular youth projects. It’s firmly rooted in the local community and has an excellent, well-deserved reputation as a friendly place where young people can go to have new experiences and just have fun together. I hope the celebration is a great success.”
Connétable of St Martin Michel Le Troquer said: “Like so many others I remember that iconic photograph of Her Majesty the Queen Mother playing pool during the formal opening of the club back in 1984. I was unaware what was happening inside as I was outside, on a Police motorcycle waiting to escort Her Majesty on to her next appointment. Never did I expect that 30 years later I would be the Connétable of St Martin and working closely with Andy and his team at the Centre.
“Although the club is actually in St Saviour it is right on the boundary with St Martin and many of the young people who attend are from our parish, in particular from around Maufant Village. Our Parish have supported the club for many years but I am delighted that we in St Martin have set up a formal Partnership Agreement and make an annual financial contribution, albeit small, towards the running costs of the club. I now sit on the Maufant Youth Project Committee and our small team meet regularly to offer support and encouragement to Andy and his dedicated team of Youth Workers at the Centre.
“Norma and Cliff can be very proud of the legacy that they have provided for so many young people over the past 30 years and I hope many take the opportunity to revisit their old club on the 1st June. I’m sure Norma and Cliff would be delighted to meet up with them and I know they are also excited to see the enthusiasm that Andy, like so many of the leaders before him, is bringing to what they must still regard as “their” club.”