Fears over future of youth clubs

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WORKERS at youth clubs in Bury St Edmunds fear for the future of the facilities as an overhaul in a young people’s service takes a major step.

Youth and Connexions staff contracts with Suffolk County Council expire on March 31,

However, they will be able to apply for roles in the authority’s new Targeted Youth Support service.

They have voiced concerns over the impact on clubs despite assurances by council bosses that some centres will remain open as part of a three year phased strategy to give communities the chance to run them.

A meeting will be held at R-AGE in Bury on Tuesday at 4.30pm for people to discuss youth provision in the town.

The facility in St Andrew’s Street South, which caters for 30 to 40 young people three nights a week, is due to be dealt with between September 2012 to March 2013.

Nathan Vincent, who runs the club, says the overhaul could reduce the number of workers at the facility.

He said: “Without the staff then we can’t operate. Hopefully I will get a job within the new service and if we can access funding to keep the centre up and running, then it may stay open.

“We basically need extra funding and I’m looking at ways we can get into the community.”

Linda Anderson runs Communi-K8 at the Infobar in Whiting Street for young people with additional needs.

Her contract and those of three other workers run out at the end of March.

She said: “Parents don’t want this service to end. They feel there’s nothing else like it around and really want it to continue.”

A spokesman for Suffolk County Council confirmed they would be recruiting staff into the new service before March 31.

He added: “This is about breaking down some of the specialist roles and creating a more multi-skilled role to meet the needs of vulnerable young people.

“Staff who are successfully appointed will continue to help with the divestment of youth clubs, and others will work to the end of their current contracts.”