Little ravers helping Colne man create bright future for local families
A Colne man who overcame a difficult past is looking to the future now by offering local families affordable activities and positive guidance.
Thomas Riley (38) endured a difficult start in life growing up in Stockport where, among other problems, he was beaten by a teacher and had no positive mentors, with the result that by the age of 27 he was homelessness and suffered from chronic addiction and mental health issues.
Now living in Colne Thomas has put his past behind him and is determined that other young people don't suffer the same way he did.
The result is QClub, a series of sporting and leisure activities organised by Thomas and friend Francesca Emmott at an affordable price.
"For the past 10 years, I have tried to better myself by studying and working within the charity sector and started to build projects and programs that support young people and disadvantaged young adults so not to make the same mistakes that I did and be a positive guide within their lives," Thomas said.
"I became a professional rapper around Manchester, running club events and found myself on radio including BBC, Unity and Key103 amongst many other achievements and raising thousands and helping many a young person."
However, the Covid pandemic, as it did with many others, hit Thomas hard, personally and professionally, but also set him on the path to Colne.
"Come the Covid pandemic, I lost my job, I contracted Long Covid and became a recluse where my mental health issues resurfaced," he added.
"This is where I made the decision to come to Colne and work on my mental health, fitness and also set up QClub.
"After meeting single mum, Francesca Emmott, who at the time was also dealing with her own struggles due to Covid, we both found we had the same desire to make a change. She quickly became one of my closest of friends and together we set up QClub, a community group designed to make an impact on our society and community."
QClub was set up to bring families, young people and children together using modern music, fitness and arts and mentorship to support them in the transition from Covid to the new normal.
RavaCise: a modern way of fitness and danceing comined with djs and mcs, lights and lasers,
QClub: A fortnightly event for 8-13 yr olds, brining moderinsed games, entertainment, dancing skills, MCs, DJs, modern music and more.
SuperDuper SwimmingBabies: Sensory swimming combined with modern music, toys, fun and bopping babies.
Raver Tykes: Aimed at ages 5 and under Raver Tykes has fun, games, modern music and a RaverBears Picnic.
All events are at a budget price and reach out to all so they only cover the overheads. Donations of items such as XBoxes are asked for prizes for competitions, and any finance to cover rent and costs.
Thomas added: "We also use live DJs and MCs and have completely modernised old and dated activities and created new experiences. It is our desire to use all profits to fund a centre where we can work with young people with antisocial behaviour, mental health issues and more. A place where we can train volunteers and give hope to further education and employment.
"Financially, together we have built this from our benefits. We have had some but little funding but have managed to gather some great support but we are in desperate need to make this work and our popular numbers tells us that the community not only want but need our service. We have sold out most of our events and numbers have exceeded our expectation."
For further information visit QClub Colne on Facebook where all our information, events and more is stored and future projects can be followed and booked.