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New ideas wanted to keep town's youth services running

Tuesday, 15th February 2011.

Anyone interested in running a youth club in Haverhill to make up for the one which Suffolk County Council is axing,will have the chance to put forward their ideas from next week.

Suffolk communities are being urged to come forward with ideas to take on 29 of the countyís youth clubs, or to run alternative services for young people, as Suffolk County Council invites local groups, businesses and individuals to run the services in future.

From Tuesday, February 15, people can have their say by visiting the county councilís website www.suffolk.gov.uk/youthclub2011 or by requesting a booklet and questionnaire.

The deadline for all suggestions is Thursday, March 311.

Cllr Graham Newman, the council's portfolio holder for children, schools and young people, said: ďAs a result of reductions to the county councilís funding, we identified late last year that we would not be able to continue to run youth clubs which have historically been our responsibility.

"It costs the county council £850,000 a year to operate its 30 open access youth clubs, and we know for a fact there are many more similar volunteer-organised clubs which enjoy much greater support, but cost a lot less to run.

"The sad fact is that we only attract about one per cent of all Suffolk's young people to our youth clubs, which is really marginal compared to the potential numbers who could be attending.

"Looking ahead, we need to spend our limited budget wisely to offer the greatest benefit to the countyís young people, including targeting resources to the most vulnerable.

"This means some tough choices, but there are also opportunities ahead for others to take on services such as youth clubs to the benefit of the community.

"For this reason, I would urge community and voluntary groups, businesses, local councils and individuals across Suffolk to take this opportunity to come forward and have their say.Ē

Along with all departments at the county council, the Children and Young Peopleís service (CYP) needs to cut its budget by at least 28 per cent within three years. This means changing the way in which some current services are provided.

This first phase of the process will focus on inviting innovative ideas for running youth clubs or other services for young people.

Haverhill Town Council has already expressed an interest in being involved in the future of young people's services in the town, but will be looking for volunteers to work with.

Once the county council has received initial ideas and suggestions, people will be invited to a series of open meetings across Suffolk to explore ideas for each location. The next phase will involve formal invitations to express interest.

People can read more in the new publication Are You Interested In Running A Youth Club?, and are invited to complete the questionnaire at www.suffolk.gov.uk/youthclub2011 or on request by contacting Yvette Gallagher on 01473 260689 or by emailing yvette.gallagher@suffolk.gov.uk

Haverhill Online News

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