Council could take youth club initiative

Councillor Jan Cosgrove
Councillor Jan Cosgrove

Bognor Town Council could take the lead in delivering youth services in light of reducing funding.

Labour councillor Jan Cosgrove lodged a notice of motion on Monday, calling for a working party to be set up with other parishes and Arun District Council to improve provision.

The motion comes amid continued delays in reopening 39 Club, in Glamis Road, leaving just Number 18 Club and West Sussex County Council’s Find it Out Centre and Phoenix Centre for the town’s young people.

Mr Cosgrove said: “I would like this council to be really proactive.

“Elsewhere, town councils have taken the lead with youth services and come up with a new way of working with young people and I hope that this council will not sit back with this.”

Monday’s annual council meeting heard how discussions with the county council over 39 Club’s premises had appeared to stall.

Environment and leisure committee chairman Tony Gardiner said he had contacted cabinet member for children, Stephen Hillier, to progress the issue – related to the installation of electricity meters.

But Mr Cosgrove suggested the club had been ‘blocked by undue bureaucracy,’ stating a snail ‘would have won the Olympics’ against county.

Councillor Pat Dillon, chairing his first meeting as mayor, said: “I don’t think there is a councillor in this room that doesn’t agree with the fact we need to do more for our youths in this town.

“I am sure we will work together in trying to sort that out.”

Mr Cosgrove believes a reduction in county council funding has led to reduced provision for young people in Bognor Regis.

Centres at North Bersted and Pagham and Rose Green have closed in recent years.

Towns including Shrewsbury have taken the initiative, running youth services with unitary authority support.

Mr Cosgrove’s motion, which also includes provision for consultation with young people, will be discussed later this month.

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