Otley'S sports and social clubs could go under unless there is a major change in how they are run, it has been claimed.

John Morgan, chairman of Otley Sports Council, is concerned that an increasing number of young people's clubs and organisations are suffering from falling memberships and a lack of volunteer helpers.

And he is blaming the rise in amount of homework expected from young people, a change in the way youngsters view their leisure time and increased pressures at work putting off potential volunteer helpers.

Now Mr Morgan is proposing volunteers should be rewarded every year at a special town presentation and he is calling on the support of club leaders at a meeting to be held next Thursday (April 27) at Otley Civic Centre. "A number of clubs and organisations in the town are suffering because they are not getting enough members or they are actually losing kids. We have effectively lost Otley Town Cricket Club because of it, the swimming club is rocking a bit, it seems to be a genuine problem in society," said Mr Morgan.

Mr Morgan, who with the sports council has sent out questionnaires together with invitations to next week's meeting to more than 20 clubs and organisations, says guide and scout groups have also been hit.

He said: "The easy answer would be that television and computers are to blame. That is partly true but it goes deeper than that. A lot of training programmes are built around the soft option. Kids don't want to learn stuff and they fall off and do something else.

"There has also been a increase in the general pressure of work, people come home from work very tired and they are not sure how long their working days are, they can't commit themselves. Leaders also used to do a lot of work at work, no one batted an eyelid, but you can't do that these days."

Mr Morgan is not sure what can be done but he believes it will help clubs to be able to share information and experience. And he also wants to see club stalwarts being rewarded with special badges at an annual presentation.

"A common problem is a problem shared and we need to recognise those in society who give up their time to run organisations. I'm going to be proposing a badge scheme where those who've served 15 years get a gold badge, a silver for ten years and a bronze for committed committee members."

l Thursday's meeting at Otley Civic Centre is due to start at 7.30pm.

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