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Final call for station centre

17:00 23 June 2014

A meeting this week is likely to be the last chance to save The Station youth centre from closure, an Ottery-based charity has warned.

The Reverend Mac Dick, chairman of youth work group The O6, is urging people interested in saving the service to attend an open meeting at the centre on Wednesday (June 25).

He said that if the town is to take on the operation of the centre, the community has just three weeks to submit a plan to Devon County Council (DCC).

He added: “This is a one-time opportunity for the town to really get together and see if we can do something about it closing.

“It is definitely possible to keep it open, but we would need the support of the town and Devon County Council (DCC).

“I think there are people here who could be willing to help, but it will need a sufficient number to make it viable.”

Mr Dick said that he had spoken with DCC to officially register an interest in taking over the operation of the centre, but details on how it will be run need to be submitted by Monday, July 14.

He added: “This is the time for people to get together, stand up and say ‘we are willing to help’.”

Recently revised plans from DCC will see eight ‘youth hubs’ across the county remain open, but the closest such facility to Ottery would be in Exmouth.

£200,000 will be available from county council coffers in the form of one-off grants to get the community run centres off the ground.

In addition, Ottery has been selected as one of three towns in Devon to take part in a government funded initiative.

The ‘delivering differently’ scheme will see a team of consultants visit the town to look at how youth, library and older people’s services can continue to operate following DCC cuts.

Councillor Elli Pang told the Herald that the consultants’ work could pave the way for a relocation of services such as the library, children’s centre and Citizens Advice Bureau to a vacant DCC-owned building next to the youth centre.

She said: “My view is, why can’t the town council buy the building by the station centre and use it as a community hub?

“If a good enough business case could be put together to say it makes sense to have a community hub there, we could see if the town council would be willing to pay for it.”

All are welcome to attend Wednesday’s meeting at the youth centre, which will begin at 7pm.

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