Urgent plea issued to help save Honiton Youth Centre

PUBLISHED: 10:35 25 August 2014 | UPDATED: 11:36 25 August 2014

An urgent plea has been issued to the community to join efforts to save Honiton Youth Centre.

The Honiton User Group has been set up to look at ways the youth centre services can be maintained and the building kept for community use following Devon County Council’s cuts to funding for youth services.

As part of the cost cutting measures 34 of the county’s youth centres, including Honiton, will be closed or handed over to the community. Gary Wills, the finance director at Honiton Community College and a member of the user group, is calling on parents and other interested individuals to get involved and give the centre a future.

“I imagine that Honiton does not want to lose the building or the youth clubs that are run from it” says Mr Wills. “However volunteers with organisational skills or an interest in delivering youth work are urgently needed.”

In addition to youth activities the centre is also used by a toddler group and Honiton Community College.

Devon County Council has invited the local community to make expressions of interest in taking over the building and securing it for community use.

Mr Wills added: “We see the problem as two-fold. One is securing the building in order that community groups can continue to use it, and the other is continuing youth services in some way – both will take money and time. With regards to the building, we have got a plan that the college will take over the lease.”

Mr Wills believes Devon County Council will be considering its bid this week. He said: “However this does not solve the problem of the ongoing delivery of youth work out of the centre.”

The user group is currently in the process of putting together a working group to look at youth services and setting up small sub-committees to look at areas such as fundraising.

“We are going to lose youth clubs in Honiton if we don’t do anything about it,” he said. “We welcome anyone who wants to see youth work continue and get involved.”

A meeting is being held on Wednesday, September 10, at Honiton Youth Centre, starting at 6pm. Anyone interested in joining the Honiton User Group is urged to contact Mr Wills at gwills@honitoncollege.devon.sch.uk or call 07540722704.

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