Dunmow's youth centre edges closer to resuming service

PUBLISHED: 07:00 16 April 2015

Dunmow youth centre

Dunmow youth centre

Archant

The future is looking brighter for Dunmow’s youth centre.

Dunmow Town Council has pledged its support to employ paid staff once more at the centre.

Meanwhile Stansted Youth Centre, which also had its funding cut by Essex County Council, returned to full service this week.

On Tuesday, Stansted Youth Centre opened its doors four nights a week for the first time since the cuts.

The service at the Dunmow club has been reduced from five sessions a week to just one Friday a fortnight, but the financial backing of the town council and the expected support of Uttlesford District Council could see the service offer two nights a week within the year.

Last Thursday, town councillors discussed the outcome of a meeting with Linda Barnes of Gemini Youth Services, who has agreed to run the centre for two nights a week alongside the youth centre in Stansted – if the £5,000 offered by the town council is match-funded by UDC.

“We need three paid staff – otherwise, all you are doing is policing, walking around, checking their behaviour,” Ms Barnes told the Broadcast.

“The point of the work we do is to sit and talk to them, and help them. If they have any problems we can direct them to other agencies, but we can’t do that with just two of us.”

The plan is based on the success of Stansted Youth Centre, which secured £15,000 running costs from match-funding from UDC and Stansted Parish Council. Ms Barnes runs the club four nights a week as well as six weeks of the summer holidays.

“It’s going really well, it is doing an excellent job,” town clerk Caroline Fuller told members on Thursday.

Councillor Vic Ranger, district representative for Dunmow South, said there is not likely to be a problem with the allocation of the funds from UDC, if the town council make the requisite application for the money.

“Whatever the flavour of the administration after May 7, I don’t think anybody would refuse considering what is at stake,” Cllr Ranger told the Broadcast.

“It seems to me to be a no-brainer,” he added.

The business plan drawn up by Ms Barnes will be discussed at a meeting of the Finance & Policy Committee on April 30, before members submit an application for funding to UDC.

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