Thetford youth organisation director more determined to help youngsters after being a victim of anti-social behaviour
The director of a youth organisation has said attacks on him and his property by youngsters has made him more determined to help them.
Joe Barreto is the director of the SIMPLE Norfolk, known for the Inspire Focus youth project, which is run from St Peter’s Church in Thetford - where the incidents occurred.
He said he was hit with a brick at the start of the month and on Christmas Eve had a window at the church smashed by youths.
“I was talking to someone and all of a sudden glass fell all over the place,” he said. “There was a big bang and the first rock did not go through and then the second rock went through the glass.
“On Christmas Eve they threw a brick at me. I had come to grab some chairs. I was lucky as I was opening the door and I had titled my head so the brick hit me on the back.”
Inspire Focus supports young people into education, careers and volunteering. Mr Barreto and his wife Carla have opened a new music venue at the church as a space where people can enjoy live music, playing instruments and a drink with friends at the Piano Bar.
A number of complaints have been made to the police over the last month concerning anti-social behaviour amongst youths in the town.
People have reported teenagers harassing them and causing a nuisance.
Mr Barreto hopes those who have been involved will use the music venue and the help Inspire Focus can give.
He said: “It makes me more determind. I know they are doing these things because they don’t get given a chance. If they go to a business and they have a slight behaviour problem they are pushed away.
“We want them to come and use the facilities that we have got. Some of the ones who have been causing trouble have been in here and apologised and have said they had the wrong image of us.
“Hopefully they will reach out to the others.”
He added: “It is about listening to what they have to say. A lot of people don’t listen and they don’t trust them and that is the problem.”
More than 100 young people are currently using the services provided Inspire Focus - which people can access remotely.
The venue is open most Friday, Saturday and Sunday but hours change. Visit Inspire Focus on Facebook.