Saturday, 15 November 2014

Sidmouth and Honiton: a tale of two youth centres

Sidmouth's Youth Centre has closed:
Futures Forum: Sidmouth Youth Centre closes: picking up the pieces

There are currently attempts to 'do something':

Urgent call to re-open Sidmouth’s youth centre

Eleanor PipeTuesday, November 11, 2014

Campaigners are calling for urgent action to reopen Sidmouth’s youth centre - as reports of antisocial behaviour rise.

Sidmouth Youth Centre. Ref shs 0826-40-14TI. Picture: Terry Ife

The centre was closed in October due to funding cuts and now Sidmouth Town Council has set up a working group to address the situation, but there are calls for faster action.

Youth centre campaigner Alfie Weaver said: “I think the working group that has just been set up is a fantastic idea, but I think you should open this up to members of the public.

“We are in a position where there is a great deal of secrecy and there is a big question mark about what is going to happen with the centre. I think this is a public issue and it is urgent that something is done.”

Sidmouth police sergeant Andy Squires says he will support any moves to create a hub for youths in the town.

“We are experiencing more antisocial behaviour, especially around the former youth centre, where they still congregate, even though there’s nothing there now,” he said.

The police are currently maintaining a high-visibility presence in the area, but Sgt Squires advised there needed to be a longer term solution.

Speaking at the town council meeting on Monday, Councillor Christine Drew said she feared Sidmouth was getting left behind, as the Honiton youth centre had already reopened, but Cllr Stuart Hughes dismissed these claims.

“It is a little bit of a red herring to say that Sidmouth is behind anybody else because it is not,” he said, explaining that existing church-run groups in Honiton had relocated to the former youth centre.

Cllr Hughes said he has been in talks with groups, including the Salvation Army and YMCA, about reopening the centre.

“I would have hoped that we would have the youth centre doors open in January in Sidmouth,” he said.

“Lets get the centre open and let’s get back in business. The sooner it opens its doors, the better.”

1 comment

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Is the problem that there is no money or that there is no organisation willing to run it? If the problem is money, then can't the Keith Owen fund help?

Urgent call to re-open Sidmouth’s youth centre - News - Sidmouth Herald

Meanwhile, in Honiton, something is being done:

HONITON: ‘Vital’ youth centre set for relaunch

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

by Jack Dixon

SUCCESSFUL efforts to save Honiton’s “vital” youth centre building can set an example to other communities fighting public service cutbacks across East Devon, according to project leaders. 

The centre had looked doomed to permanent closure when Devon County Council announced it would be withdrawing its funding earlier this year.
But after representatives from community groups in the town rallied in response, the building is now set to reopen – staffed with fully-trained youth workers – early in the new year. 

With the support of Honiton Community College, which has now finalised a lease to take on the building for the next three years, project leaders from all corners of the town have stepped up to bring services back to the centre. 

Two professional youth workers, trained by the county council, will be employed to revive secular youth club nights on Tuesdays and Thursdays, with Honiton Community Church running a group on Friday evenings. 

And the town council’s Youth Champion Henry Brown said the project’s success could demonstrate to others how services can be retained for community use.
“It is vital that the community stands up to protect our threatened public services, and hopefully the work we have done at the youth centre can set an example and show that facilities can be saved,” said Councillor Brown. 

He added: “My main aim when I joined the council was to make sure we saved this youth centre building for the young people of Honiton and I am delighted we have reached this point so quickly.
The town desperately needs this facility open and it is testament to the strength of the community that it has rallied round to make sure that remains the case. Youth services are an important stepping stone in young people’s lives and I will continue to work hard to make sure they are given the support they deserve, and are entitled to, here in Honiton.” 

Under the management of the recently established Honiton Community Group – a committee of volunteers working with community development specialists to secure the building’s future – a local toddler group and the ‘729 club’ for adults with mental disabilities will also make use of the facilities.
And project leaders are encouraging others to come forward to use the space, with the ultimate ambition of inheriting the building from the school when the lease runs out. 

Gary Wills, the college’s finance director, who engineered the lease agreement with the county council, added: “The building has now changed hands to the college so that community clubs and groups can continue to use the space. New signs will be going up very soon which denote the centre as a community use building (CUB). The ‘729 club’, (the charity) Young Devon, the toddler group and the community church will continue to meet and use the building, and the old county-council run youth club that met on a Tuesday and Thursday night will hopefully be back up and running in January.” 

An open evening is being held at the centre on Tuesday, November 11th between 6pm and 8pm where visitors can find out more about Honiton Community Group.

HONITON TODAY | NEWS | HONITON: ‘Vital’ youth centre set for relaunch | 2014

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