Fareham council steps in to save youth services

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YOUTH services are to be saved in Fareham after the borough council agreed to step in and provide vital funding.

The services, which include youth clubs and a youth council for 11 to 19-year-olds, were at risk of closure after Hampshire County Council indicated that it would be axing funding for its youth activities as it attempts to make savings of £98m by April 2017.

However, Fareham Borough Council has agreed to step in and provide £30,000 a year so that these services can continue.

Executive member for leisure and community Cllr Sue Bell said: ‘There are clear indications that Hampshire will only fund the needs of vulnerable young people.

‘As yet the consultation which should have commenced in November has still not started, so we do not know precisely what the county is proposing but the likelihood is there will be no funding for open access youth activities in the next financial year.’

The council agreed to set aside £30,000 per year to fund youth activities, with priority given to the four council-owned buildings – Oasis Youth Project, in Titchfield, Genesis Youth Centre, in Locks Heath, Crofton Youth Project at Crofton Community Centre, in Stubbington and X-Perience Youth Centre, in Fareham. A new part-time community development officer post will also be created.

Cllr Bell said the newly-formed Y-CAT meetings, a version of the Community Action Team meetings for young people, had been successful with more than 60 people attending the first meeting in Fareham.

Cllr Bell said: ‘To do nothing is not an option.’

However Cllr Chris Wood, who represents Stubbington, questioned the number and range of activities available and called for the council to do more research.

‘We could be far more inventive with the youth services we provide,’ he said.

Council leader Sean Woodward said Fareham offered a wide range of services which were vital.

He said: ‘Fareham Borough Council is trying to pick up the mantle and trying to do something positive for young people in Fareham.

‘There are many organisations available, there’s an awful lot for young people to do if they wish to engage, and we are looking to help further those that do wish to engage.’

Cllr Bell said a list of services would be published once the work has been completed so that families can find out what’s on offer.