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Youth cuts are ‘a betrayal’ against young people

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: March 29, 2014

Conor Wileman, from Brizlincote Valley..Conservative candidate for Burton Tower division in the 2013 Staffordshire County Council elections

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A DECISION to close the youth club in Winshill is a ‘betrayal’ against young people in the area, in has been claimed.

Cuts by Staffordshire County Council have seen the authority pull out of providing youth services in the county, leaving voluntary groups to step into the role.

The council has put the move down to the fact that only a quarter of young people use the services, but members of Winshill Parish Council have argued that simply isn’t the case on their patch.

At their latest meeting, Councillor Jim Muir said: “Figures show that in East Staffordshire 38 per cent use youth services, and that includes areas that don’t have youth clubs. It wouldn’t surprise me in half the children in this area used the youth club.

“I think it’s a betrayal.”

The council is hoping third sector organisations, such as the Scouts or drama groups, will step in to provide the services which the council currently offers.

Youth services cost the council around £8.7 million.

County councillor Conor Wileman, who represents Tower division, said the decision would see some of the money reinvested in schemes to support young people in their quest for work as they grow up.

“Young people don’t want a youth centre, they want a future, and that doesn’t just come from youth clubs, it comes from a good school and jobs,” he told councillors.

Winshill Youth Club is one of only a couple in the area, and has been running for many years.

It provides activities for young people, as well as support from advisors when it is needed.

Councillor Dennis Fletcher described it as a ‘thriving and viable’ facility, and urged Councillor Wileman to do what he could to keep it open.

He agreed to take the group’s objections to the county council.

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