Talks could save Sidmouth Youth Centre

Sidmouth Youth Centre. Ref shs 0825-40-14TI. Picture: Terry Ife

Sidmouth Youth Centre. Ref shs 0825-40-14TI. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Police and campaigners have warned of the impact on the town when Sidmouth Youth Centre closes on Wednesday.

Devon County Council (DCC) is cutting the budget to its service for youngsters – but the ‘short-sighted’ move has been slammed by those who warn the cost will be felt elsewhere.

Yet there may be hope to re-open the Manstone Lane hub as the authority is in talks with two groups over its future.

Youth campaigner Alfie Weaver said: “A hundred young people will be on the streets of an evening with no support. It’s an utter mess and it’s time our council stepped up.”

DCC is focusing its funds on those youngsters most in need of help but many will miss out on the advice the centres offer.

PCSO Steve Blanchford-Cox said: “The direction and moral input given by the youth service is phenomenal. It’s short-sighted – the impact is going to be felt in the community more widely.”

The YMCA this week revealed it has been in talks with DCC to save the youth centre but a spokesman said there is ‘loads of work to be done on financial viability’.

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Councillor Stuart Hughes is also in talks over Sidmouth’s centre and said: “No decisions yet have been made, but I am committed to finding a solution.

“We’re having conversations with local groups who will hopefully help that happen.”

Ottery St Mary’s centre is due to close next Friday but a community group is in talks to save it.

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