Youth clubs braced for closures after cuts

Photo: Diego Sevilla Ruiz

Over half of Croydon’s youth clubs are facing closure, a decision which could result in at least 53 redundancies over the next year.

The proposal is one of many options suggested in yesterday’s Croydon Council Cabinet Meeting and will be open for public consultation. A massive reform of youth provisions in the borough is currently underway, a result of big public service budget cuts.

Overall, youth provision services face a budget reduction of £1.5m over the next two years.

The redundancies that are on the table would affect both full-time and part-time  staff. The proposed measures involve passing on the duties of paid staff to voluntary sector organizations instead.

“The voluntary sector does this job better than we do. It’s about getting better value and better services,” said Councillor Tim Pollard, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for children, young people and learners. Nevertheless, even after pressure, he refused to clarify which voluntary sector organisations are going to take over.

“No-one likes to do the things we are considering doing”, said Cllr Pollard. He was also warned that the eradication of youth clubs could result into an increase of youth anti-social behaviour.

Cllr Simon Hall stressed that the closure of Timebridge Centre will have devastating results. “You are going to deprive 1,000 people of a youth club and destroy the community by doing so. It makes a great difference. You are going to see an increase in anti-social behaviour”, he said.

The Turnaround Centre will face less of a shake-up, since it will continue to provide a drop in service for vulnerable youths, victims of crime and will sustain its work towards crime prevention.

The proposals come just a week after Croydon Council launched a dispersal order in the Selsdon & Ballards area to battle youth violence.

The Cabinet will launch a four-week public consultation on the proposed budget options.

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