Youth group will close after loss of council grants

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  • Focus Youth Group will close after losing its grant from Hampshire County Council
  • Group in Lee-on-the-Solent runs courses for young people aged 11 to 18
  • Youth group will look to merge with another one called Flipside
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A YOUTH group has been forced to close after it failed to get funding in a council’s budget.

Focus Youth Group in Lee-on-the-Solent will shut at the end of the month after running for two-and-a-half years.

We had been getting our funding from Hampshire County Council but they have had to stop our grants.

It was funded by Hampshire County Council but due to cuts, the authority has not included it in its 2015/16 budget.

The club, which meets twice a week, is now looking at merging with another youth group called Flipside which operates once a week, also in Lee-on-the-Solent.

Richard Mackay, a committee member for Focus Youth Group, said: ‘We had been getting our funding from the county council since we opened but it has had to stop our annual grants.

‘We rely totally on the grants and without them – we cannot pay the few staff who work for us.

‘Although we have volunteers as well, the paid staff were trained youth workers and are important to what we do.’

Focus Youth Group is for young people aged 11 to 18 and provides a range of information and courses from drug awareness to cookery.

It is open to all young people but teenagers are also referred through social services and other agencies.

But with Focus Youth Group closing, the youngsters will go be referred to Flipside instead, which is based at Bay House School in Gomer Lane.

It is also funded by the county council and has trained youth workers who volunteer every Monday during term-time.

Richard added: ‘We’re looking to merge the two groups so most of the young people who come to us can go to them.

‘We do split the young people into different age groups but this might not be the case for Flipside.

‘But we are just happy they won’t all be left high and dry.’

Last year, the group faced similar difficulties when the council gave it £9,000 instead of the £13,000 needed to run the group.

The shortfall meant it had to reduce its services to two sessions a week and run fewer activities.

The county council did 
not comment on the 
situation when contacted by The News.