Honiton’s youth centre offered a lifeline

Honiton Youth Centre. Ref mhh 4346-37-14AW. Picture: Alex Walton

Honiton Youth Centre. Ref mhh 4346-37-14AW. Picture: Alex Walton - Credit: Archant

The future is looking brighter for Honiton’s youth centre after the building was secured for community use.

Honiton Community College will be taking over the lease after being successful in its bid to Devon County Council to take over the building.

Gary Wills, the finance director of Honiton Community College, said: “Honiton Community College has stepped in and agreed to take over the lease – saving the building for community use, with the help of Alex Gibson, of East Devon District Council and Honiton Together.

“We have agreed to do it short-term on a three-year interim lease, which we hope will give Honiton Community Group (HCG) a chance to mature into an organisation that will be strong enough and organised enough to take on the running of the building, as well as providing youth services for the local area.”

HCG will be looking at ways to maintain youth centre services and run them in the future, following Devon County Council’s withdrawal from providing the service. It will also look at fundraising to pay for these services and youth workers.

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As part of the lease arrangements, the college will look after the building facilities, including caretaking services, electricity and security. The majority of these costs will be covered by a major partner, Young Devon, which will be hiring part of the building during the week to deliver employment courses to young people struggling to find work.

HCG includes representatives from existing youth clubs and groups, including the toddler group, 7-9 Club, Honiton Twirlstars and The Community Church Honiton.

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The community church is looking to use the building and Mill Water school will be continuing to use the centre.

There have been plenty of offers of support from members of the community.

The future of the town’s youth centre was thrown into doubt after Devon County Council announced it would be closing 34 of its youth centres, including Honiton, unless the community expressed an interest in taking over the buildings.

It is hoped the building can be used for functions and events. However, it is expected that the youth clubs on a Tuesday and Thursday night may have to close temporarily whilst new services are put in place.

Anyone interested in joining HCG is urged to email Alex Gibson on AGibson@eastdevon.gov.uk

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