Council's youth centre gift for town's youngsters

PUBLISHED: 16:19 27 December 2016

Sidmouth Youth Centre. Ref shs 0826-40-14TI. Picture: Terry Ife

Sidmouth Youth Centre. Ref shs 0826-40-14TI. Picture: Terry Ife

Archant

Youngsters and youth workers in Sidmouth have been given an early Christmas present by the town's civic leaders, after they agreed to take ownership of the youth centre.

Jeff Turner, chairman of Sidmouth Town Council, said the hub had gone from ‘strength to strength’ since the council stepped in to reopen it at the end of 2014, after county council cuts.

Members voted yes ‘without reservation’ to buy the Manstone Lane building from Devon County Council at its last meeting.

Cllr Turner said: “We are delighted that our youth services are going from strength to strength and having full ownership and responsibility for the Manstone Lane youth building means that we can manage it and extend its use to other organisations, whilst making sure that it is available as required for our town youth.”

Since reopening in January last year, the hub is open four days a week for a range of services provided by Young Devon.

The charity has recorded 100 people using the facilities, from the bi-weekly youth club meetings, youth forums or up-skill workshops.

Ben Feasey, youth work co-ordinator for Young Devon, said: “The fact we know it’s a long-term thing, we can set out a more diverse and robust programme.

“It’s good - it means things are moving forward and that we have the backing.

“To have them [the council] take on the full ownership, it makes you feel it was worthwhile.”

As part of its activities next year, the youth centre is hoping to arrange for a local graffiti artist to speak to youngsters.

The council will take ownership of the building some time in the new year.

In the spring, a multi-use games area (MUGA) will be installed for the community to use.

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