We decided to go to The Breakers Fundraiser so that we could support the cause but also cover the event for Andover Back Beat as we had been promised oodles of young local talent, we arrived just after 4pm and so avoided the hugely high parking costs in the Sports Centre Car Park and made our way to The Lights, we were welcomed by lovely security guards who wanted to stamp our hands before we were allowed in, this was obviously so we could come and go as we pleased.
The entrance fee was £5 a head which was very reasonable considering the cause. All music acts were performing completely free to support this local cause started and run by Anji Gillies, a local Mum and Wife who was disturbed by published statistics that showed Andover has an above average suicide rate in young teenagers and men, Anji decided that to provide somewhere for youngsters to meet, chat and relax without pressure would help benefit and hopefully reduce such terrible statistics.
Under 18’s will be able to enjoy Open Mic nights, a bar serving soft drinks only (NO alcohol) workshops, pool and access to youth workers. Breakers will also provide a daytime crèche with a toddler service, leisure classes in the evenings for things like Zumba, Yoga etc and at the weekend, over 18’s club nights where the full bar will be available including alcoholic drinks to be served to over 18’s in attendance.. A large amount of money is required to get Breakers up and going as the bill for refurbishment is some £60k+ along with a further £100k to reinstate the bowling alleys which may not be in use when the Community Centre is first launched.
When we arrived we spotted Richard from Andover Town and we went to the bar and got some drinks, almost immediately the music started and didn’t stop and as we left Chasing Daisies had taken to the stage and were belting out ‘Beggin’ You’, to follow them was Outside Central who Andover Back Beat love and were sad to miss them, but we had to go. It was good to see local councillors at the event early on, Test Valley Borough Councillors, Nigel Long and Iris Anderson were with Andover Town Councillor Barbara Long, later on UKIP County Councillor Tony Hooke arrived looking unfazed by his brush with the police a week or so again was stood at the bar with Liz Ferla who it turns out keeps some lovely biscuits at home that Tony Hooke enjoys with a cup of tea and sometimes a ‘mean’ sandwich made by Liz.
It was a shame that the event was quite quiet although I do understand it picked up later in the evening and the event raised £600 towards their target, however in real terms that is only 120 people paying £5 entry, to me that is so sad in a town of over 35,000 people that more couldn’t support something that will bring not only a safe place for our teenagers to hang out in but will also bring other invaluable services to our community.
I spoke to one of the volunteers, Sabrina Taylor who was there with her husband and children, Sabrina told me that she had met her husband, Matthew in Breakers 13 years ago and she wanted to support the cause to get it reopened and used for the community. I think that many of us locals have memories of times in Breakers, I certainly do and recall Friday and Saturday nights in there, bowling, dancing and chatting to boys!
All in all the event was a success and the music was fantastic as you will see from our reports in the Andover Back Beat section, the staff were lovely behind the bar and kept the drinks flowing throughout the night, Anji should be proud of what she has achieved so far and `Andover & Villages’ wish her every success for the next few months, we are looking forward to covering the opening night of the new Breakers Community Centre, as Anji says ‘when’ it opens, not ‘if’!