'No threat of closing down youth centres in North Lincolnshire'
The future of youth clubs in North Lincolnshire has been safeguarded – despite concerns over the current changes to its structuring.
One of the changes which is currently being rolled out is a new tendering process where, for the first time, youth service providers can e bid for a share of cash to run activities for youngsters.
Previously this was done in-house by North Lincolnshire Council but although there will be a change in how the cash is managed, there will still be £600,000 available to fund youth services in North Lincolnshire.
Rumours about the possible closure of youth clubs had began to spread across North Lincolnshire – with concerns raised last month in Crowle and this month in Epworth.
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Rob Waltham, cabinet member for young people in North Lincolnshire, spoke about the plans at Epworth Town Council meeting to set the record straight.
He said: "There is no threat of closing down the youth centres. The review of the service is nothing to do with money. We have figures on how many young people use the service and we are trying to shape its future. We asked 2,000 young people what they wanted for the youth service."
Their ideas have been taken on board and council bosses are now using these to shape the future of the youth service.
Mr Waltham said the results highlighted a need for activities to be held at the region's youth centres on Fridays and Saturday nights and also the summer months.
He reassured Epworth Town Council that should any youth club not have the right provisions put in place, there would not be any cuts to the service.
"There is no pressure. For instance, if we don't find someone for Epworth this youth service will not close. There are no cuts" he said.
He put an end to rumours about the youth service ending should a suitable tender not be found by January and added: "It's not ending. It will all happen even if we have to wait until 2015. It's about getting the right provision for Epworth and young people and making sure council assets are used to capacity.
"We want to encourage more young people to use the service and they all want something different to what they are getting."
Councillor Jean Levesley asked whether there would be continued nights mid-week which suit the 9 to 12-year-old age group.
Mr Waltham acknowledged the importance of catering for the different age ranges.
Concerns were raised over the posts of paid youth leaders, to which Mr Waltham replied: "We are reviewing paid youth leaders. There might be lots more paid youth leaders as part of the funding."
He confirmed North Lincolnshire Council will be advertising a vacancy for a grant officer who will work to deliver the service using 1,800 grant providers.
Organisations have until October 22 to make a submission to provide a youth service.
Tenders will commence on January 1 next year.