Bersted youth centre could close due to funding cut

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Shocked councillors have been told North Bersted Youth Centre is set to be axed.

The members of Bersted Parish Council were warned on Tuesday the building could stand empty if another operator failed to take over the service.

Parish and county councillor Simon McDougall revealed the news. “The youth centre will close,” he said. “There will only be 14 left in the county.

“The county council had to take £2m out of its youth service budget in the last financial year.

“The plan is to take another £2m out in the next three years. There will only be a skeleton service left.

“The hope is that they will be looking to councils like us, or community groups, to take over the running of that building.

“But, unless someone else takes over, it will shut down.

“Attendance at the centre is not too high. That could be a considerable factor why it is being taken away.”

The intention is to target youth services on those young people not in college, jobs or training.

The centre is based in a former school on North Bersted Street. It is open Tuesday and Friday evenings.

Parish councillor Jonathan Spencer said the centre’s current managers were keen to carry on when the county council pulled out.

“They want to keep it going and find the money. All the paperwork is ready to go as soon as they know what is going on,” he said.”

Cllr Martin Lury said any closure of the youth centre could lead to a rise in anti-social behaviour.

He said: “I understand the need for cuts and the problems the county council are having but the reality for the community is that they may have a less pleasant time in the short term.”

Parish council chairman Cllr Brian Knight said he was unhappy with the proposed cutback.