YOUNG people in Copeland can enjoy much needed social time at a youth Phoenix Youth Project in spite of the Government’s new rule of six.

The new rule to make social gatherings of more than six people illegal during the coronavirus pandemic includes a proviso that youth clubs can continue to operate.

It is a relief for Phoenix Youth Project manager Paul Rowe, who said: “It’s an important part of people’s lives, youth work is nationally classified as an essential service for young people.

“This is a really vital outlet for young people to meet their friends in a really safe, fun environment.”

Restrictions were clarified for youth groups by the National Youth Agency, which said: “Despite the recent changes to social gathering restrictions we can confirm that as an essential service, youth sector activity can continue unchanged where Covid secure to NYA guidance standards.”

The project’s youth clubs are open as usual in Cleator Moor and Frizington following rigorous risk assessments, albeit with fewer activities.

Paul said: “We re-opened on July 7 with lots of risk assessments and very hard work behind the scenes.

“We decided there were three things that the young people wanted, music, pool and Xbox.

“They can come here and feel a bit of normality. We bought about 30 pool cues so that nobody uses the same one on the same night."

He added: “We’ve started some arts and crafts again but just what can be done individually.”

Social distancing is in place at all times and changes made to the service during the pandemic have received Copeland Borough Council’s approval.

The team is committed to providing their vital service through the pandemic.

“What we’re trying to say is its in a Covid-19 safe environment but it’s fun” said Paul.

“There’s so many restrictions on young people this is the safest way of your son or daughter having that social outlet.”

Frizington Youth Club is open Monday and Wednesdays from 6pm until 7.30pm for 8 to 12 year-olds and 7.30pm until 9pm for 13 to 19 year-olds.

Cleator Moor Youth Club is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 6pm until 7.30pm for 8 to 12 year-olds and from 7.30pm until 9pm for 13 to 19 year-olds.

Phoenix Youth Project can be contacted on 01946814555 or visit its Facebook page.