Leominster could lose youth club without additional funding

Ledbury Reporter: Herefordshire and Leominster town councillor Peter McCaull says Leominster will lose a great facility if the youth club closes next month. Herefordshire and Leominster town councillor Peter McCaull says Leominster will lose a great facility if the youth club closes next month.

LEOMINSTER could lose its youth club next month if new funds are not found.

Youth services were one of the first to suffer last year when Herefordshire Council sought to balance its books.

But Leominster's youth service was thrown a lifeline with temporary funding provided to help the voluntary sector establish services in the town.

That funding had an expiration date however, and time is now running out to secure the centre's future.

Chris Baird, assistant director with education and commissioning at Herefordshire Council, said the local authority stopped providing traditional youth services in order to focus its resources on targeted youth support following a cabinet decision last year.

He added: “To help the voluntary sector establish youth services in Leominster, the council provided temporary funding to Mobile Youth Led Opportunity (MYLO), which is part of the Herefordshire Voluntary organisations Support Service. The funding contract included a condition that part of the funding was to be used to make the service provided sustainable from April 2014.

"The funding and contractual arrangements come to an end on April 1. The council is aware that MYLO wishes to continue providing youth services and is working with HVOSS to explore options.”

But Herefordshire and Leominster town councillor Peter McCaull said it would be a "huge loss" to the town if the youth centre closes.

"I’m pretty upset about it. I can’t think of any other facility in the town that could offer these same services" he said.

"This service is for young people who cannot afford to join groups such as the Brownies, young farmers and cadets."

Coun McCaull suggests that Halo's proposed new dance studio at Leominster Leisure Centre could be a suitable substitute for the South Street youth club, though nothing has been decided or agreed.

William Edwards, co-ordinator of MYLO, added that the group is "desperately" trying to keep hold of its youth provision in Leominster.

"We have had 150 young people through our books over the last 12 months," he added.

"We support a lot of young people that need that access and we have done some really good work in supporting young people and we will continue to provide youth services as long as we have funding but we need support of the local council and the local community if that’s to continue."

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