Donna’s Cabin fever will keep scheme alive

A DROP-IN youth centre in Knaphill has been saved from the brink of closure, thanks to a community minded volunteer.

Donna O’Donoghue, who was elected Chairman of The Cabin at a committee meeting on Wednesday last week, will take the helm from David Schley, who is going away to Ghana next month to do voluntary work.

SAVING GRACE - Donna O'Donoghue

SAVING GRACE – Donna O’Donoghue

But it’s not the first time Donna (below) has taken on the role. She was one of the project’s founders in 2009, when she also became chairman.

She said: “I only retired because I was going to live in Australia to be near my sons.”

Now the former businesswoman is back. She said: “I’ve always found Knaphill an easy place to settle in because of its strong community support.”

Fearing The Knaphill Cabin project may be forced to fold without someone to take the lead, local Councillor Saj Hussain had been on the lookout for a new chairman to keep the sessions going. So when he got wind that Donna was back in the village, he persuaded her to take on the role again.

He said: “This is excellent news. Knaphill has been behind with youth provision so, hopefully, this will be the start of better things to come.”

Donna, from Westfield, added: “It has been fantastic to come back and see The Cabin thriving. It’s great to see the community knit together.”

The voluntary project, for youngsters aged between 11 and 17, operates in the style of an informal young people’s café at The Vyne community centre.

It provides a free, safe place for them to meet friends on Monday evenings to have fun, relax, and interact with others. As well as offering games such pool, table football and air hockey, cards and board games, Wii and PS3, each week The Cabin run engaging activities.

Donna explained: “The youngsters want a place to go that feels like their own. We are thinking of taking on a second night – a Thursday – but we need to take stock first.

“We always need volunteers, particularly younger ones like students, because the youngsters find them easier to relate to.”

A total of four new volunteers signed up to The Knaphill Cabin at last week’s committee meeting.

The free sessions are held at The Vyne on Broadway on Mondays from 7pm to 9pm. Anyone aged from 11 to 17 who lives around the area is welcome to come along.

If you are aged 18 and over and interested in helping as a volunteer, visit

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