Battle to save youth service

Blackpool Town Hall
Blackpool Town Hall
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AS hundreds of thousands of pounds is slashed from Blackpool Council’s budget and some youth services close, councillors and youth workers have vowed not to let the resorts’ youth go without.

Though £600,000 is on the cards to be cut from the council’s youth budget – which will stop some services – leaders have said around £200,000 is to be kept to fund other projects.

Coun Chris Maughan

Coun Chris Maughan

Coun Chris Maughan, cabinet member for young people, said: “Generic services are stopping, but targeted services helping those at risk will stay.”

Under proposals Coun Maughan said Whiteholme youth centre, on All Saints Road, Bispham, will be closed due to a drop in usage.

He added: “Young people are operating in different ways, a lot of them are utilising the leisure services we’ve invested in and not using youth centres.”

But Laurance Hancock, operations manager at Boathouse Youth, a centre on Lytham Road voted Best Youth Club in the UK in 2011, said excuses should not be made for the cuts.

He said: “There’s no way the council can cut these services and say they’re not used. We understand there’s less money but they can’t make excuses. We see 800 children a week at our centre. Leisure centres don’t go through sexual health or help you write your CV or talk about bullying, they don’t do all the things children need.”

The council has said the new approach to services will allow bids for £200,000 to fund projects chosen by young people, while protecting services for those at risk.Coun Maughan added: “Connexions workers, The Hub and youth offending teams are all protected. Those that deal with the most vulnerable will continue.

“We will go out through the youth council and youth groups and really encourage young people to bid for this £200,000 so services are meeting their needs and wants.”

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