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Town Council Votes for 5 More Years of Youth Service Support

Sidmouth Youth Centre

Sidmouth Town Council has made a commitment to young people for another 5 years at a meeting of the Town Council held this week. Though Youth Services are not a statutory responsibility of a Town Council, Members decided that it was important to continue to ensure that young people in the Sidmouth area are supported to enjoy as wide a range of activities as possible.

The decision comes following a two year evaluation process, where the Council consulted widely with young people and community groups who provide activities and services for them. The Town Council is committed to ensure that the voice and aspirations of young people should be the key factor informing decisions about provision. Some 500 young people shared their views and these will guide and inform decision making going forwards.

The Council also considered a feasibility study for the future of the Manstone Youth Centre site. Following this review, the Council has come to the decision to close the existing building later this year. The building has come to the end of its natural life and as a result, maintenance costs have become untenable, costing the Town Council almost £44,000 in 2023/24 which represents 6.4% of the Council’s annual expenditure. With any building of this age and type, there is the additional risk of a serious maintenance issue which would require immediate closure of services. For that reason, the Town Council has been working together with youth provider Young Devon and others to find possible alternative premises from which services could continue. The Council is also working with other users of the Manstone site so that they can continue to operate their services.

Young Devon have worked hard to ensure that there will be minimal disruption to current activities and support. Moving to new premises, not only ensures the future of support for young people in years to come, but also will save the Town Council and Sidmouth residents approximately £40,000 a year which can be reinvested into the community.

Cllr Hilary Nelson, Chair of the Youth Provision Working Group of Sidmouth Town Council said: “I am delighted that the Town Council has decided unanimously to continue its support for youth provision in Sidmouth.  Going forward, we will be producing a long term plan for youth services in the Sid Valley which will enrich our community and ensure we use the Council’s limited resources wisely.   Most importantly, the new plan will have at its heart the needs and aspirations of young people, which we have gauged through a thorough consultation process. 

Closing the Youth Centre was not a decision we took lightly, but together with Young Devon, we have put in place plans to ensure that services provided to young people will be able to continue with minimum disruption in an alternative location, with the money saved by the move reinvested in services and the community. 

We have been guided in this process by extensive feedback from young people.  We are grateful to them for all their input and look forward to continuing our dialogue with them and community groups to ensure that the Sid Valley remains a safe, supportive and inclusive place to grow up, where young people are valued and empowered to achieve their full potential.”

12 June 2024
Last Updated
12 June 2024
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