The Renegades go free!Renegades logo

Thanks to the generous community spirit of organisations like The Postcode Society and The Sussex Community Foundation with their lifesaving grants, the Renegades Youth Club is going free. As belts are being tightened around the country, the usual membership contribution of £10 a month has been made a voluntary contribution.

Group Leader Gareth Miller said: “The most important thing is to offer all the wonderful opportunities that the Renegades can give to as many children as possible. We know that some families are having to count every penny at the moment, so it made sense to us that we’d take one cost out of the equation – but we could only afford to do it because of the grants we have been lucky enough to receive. We won’t be able to do it for ever, but we will offer it for as long as we can.”

And while the club may be free, the activities are no less exciting and varied. Thanks to the continued good graces and help from the Billingshurst Minibus charity we were able to take the kids to Huxley’s Bird of Prey centre in Horsham.

“It was a Saturday morning of screaming kookaburras, which was hysterical (in more ways than one!) and the kids absolutely loved being able to just sit with some amazing birds of prey of all varieties. Rain stopped flights unfortunately but it was breathtaking just to see so many different birds – from giant golden eagles to huge owls to vultures and falcons.” comments Gareth.

“The children learned so much. They only fly when hungry and prefer to perch, the Peregrine in a dive is the fastest animal on earth – beating the cheetah paws down – and some birds can even carry off small dogs. And I should know their killing power, I was walking my dogs locally when a tawny owl literally covered me in blood as he flew over me with a grey squirrel prey in his beak.”

Also this month, due to popular request, the Renegades had a second visit from Storrington herpetologist Drew Hicks, with her collection of snakes and a bearded dragon. The children also had fun larping (shooting each other with sponge tipped arrows) and creating ice art after the Wey & Arun canal was too frozen to canoe on it.

“We also had a very entertaining time welcoming the Chinese Year of the Rabbit. It was for the whole family and we did some mad games and learning about what the Chinese did for us. Fun facts like the Chinese inventing Football always creates open mouths. With huge help from the parents, we had a feast of home-made dumplings and Chinese meatballs and rice, gave all the children red envelopes with chocolate money inside and finished off the evening by letting off 30 eco-friendly lanterns…which apparently got some interest from the local community who thought they were UFOs!”

The Renegades is a Registered Charity. Membership is free or a voluntary contribution of £10 a month. Please contact Gareth Miller on 07801 862550 or Damian Dixon on 07484 130189 for a taster session.