More youth club sessions could go
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SUCCESSFUL youth club sessions in Pill and Easton-in-Gordano could be drastically cut if more funding cannot be found to keep them going.
Pill and District Young People’s Partnership has been successful in continuing youth work in the area after North Somerset Council pulled the plug on its general youth work budget last year.
However, volunteers leading the partnership fear they will have to cut sessions at the youth club in Church Place, Pill, from four to just one per week due to scarce future funding.
In February, the Times revealed North Somerset Council’s decision to discontinue financial support for such groups for the 2013/14 financial year.
In Pill, the partnership was counting on support from the authority’s positive activities innovation fund to secure its short-term future.
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Partnership chairman Kevin Stone said: “Unless we get other funding some of the nights will have to close.
“We think we might be able to survive until September. But, we don’t want to just shut up shop.”
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The partnership’s work covers Pill and Easton-in-Gordano but also works with children from Portbury, which live in the ward covered by North Somerset Council leader Nigel Ashton.
In a letter to Cllr Ashton, Pill and Easton-in-Gordano Parish Council chairman Andy Jopp said: “This recent decision will seriously undermine all the positive partnership work we have established with the authority over the last five years.
“During this time we have installed new play and leisure equipment, effected a full refurbishment of the youth club and encouraged more paid and voluntary help. This has resulted in a significant decline in antisocial behaviour and a greatly improved image for young people in the area.
“It is deplorable that North Somerset Council has taken the decision to suffocate the creative work we have been encouraging, and a sad indictment of the support for young people in your own ward, some of who have made good use of our provision.”
At a meeting of the parish council on Monday members were told a reply had not yet been received from Cllr Ashton.
However, when discussing the unitary authority’s budget at a meeting in February, Cllr Ashton did say: “If there are groups that need some additional help to make sure they see it through then we will give it.”
As a result, parish councillors agreed to seek a meeting between the parish council, the partnership, Cllr Ashton and North Somerset’s executive member for children and young people’s services.