We have been lied to over youth club, claim Bradford on Avon teenagers
Bradford on Avon Youth Centre users Jodie Styles, Cherry Riley, Luke Pronick and Alysha Green are unhappy that their centre is to be closed. Picture by Glenn Phillips
Members of Bradford on Avon’s youth club say they have been lied to after learning their centre would close earlier than expected, without any alternatives put in place.
BoA Youth, for 13 to 19-year-olds, meets in the town’s Community and Youth Development Centre in Frome Road three nights a week.
Each session is attended by up to 50 young people from Bradford, Holt, Trowbridge, Melksham and Winsley, who use the numerous rooms and sports hall for activities, including cooking.
A notice in the centre states that Wiltshire Council will cease running the youth club from the building as of August 1, but from August 1-15 there will be trips and activities at other locations.
Alysha Green, 16, has used the centre for four years, and was among the teenagers who sacrificed exam preparation time to prepare presentations and attend consultations into the youth service changes.
She said: “We feel the council has misled us.
“They promised the youth centre would remain here until they came up with something else to put in place and they said nothing would change until October. They have lied to us.
“The council said they would listen to us. The youth workers and building were the main things we were concerned about and they are the two main things that are changing.”
Cherry Riley, 17, said: “We feel like a decision was made before the consultation. We are trying to be heard as much as we can. We have put our opinion across so much.
“We put a lot of hard work over the half term and through our exams to prepare presentations, set up petitions and attend consultations. They haven’t put any consideration into all the work we did.”
James Davies, 17, who has attended the centre for four years, said: “We will miss the youth workers. We have built a bond with them. They care so much about the people and make sure they introduce themselves to everybody.
“I would rather talk to a youth worker because you can’t have a bond with a teacher and I felt my personal information would be shared in the staff room.”
Nathan Walker, 16, who used the centre for four years, said: “It goes against their slogan Everybody Matters. Young people are still vulnerable. It is a safe place for us to go. It helps everyone get on the right track.”
But Laura Mayes, Wiltshire Council’s portfolio holder for children’s services, said: “Nothing has changed from what I said when the changes were announced.
“Clubs will not close until an alternative has been found. There may be a few weeks between one ending and another starting but the clubs will keep going.”
This week Wiltshire Council appointed a team of community youth officers to co-ordinate activities and support young people in each area.
As part of the changes, which saw the number of youth worker posts cut from 144 largely part-time roles to 25 full time posts, responsibility for the provision and funding of youth services has passed to the area boards.
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