Two youth centres close as cuts bite
Reporter: by DAWN MARSDEN
Date published: 24 December 2014
Cllr Barabra Brownridge
OLDHAM Council will close two youth centres as the fight to make savings of £60 million continues.
Failsworth Youth Centre and 146 Werneth Youth Centre are the facilities affected but alternative provisions will be put in place.
The council currently spends £2.7 million on youth services but the vast majority of local sport and activities are provided by the voluntary, community and faith sector. The council needs to save £600,000 in this area by 2015/16 which will result in the loss of 32 full-time jobs.
The council has agreed on proposals to strengthen their links with Mahdlo Youth Zone and Oldham Community Leisure to broaden the services on offer.
Councillor Barbara Brownridge, cabinet member for neighbourhoods and cooperatives, said: “The council needs to make savings of £60m over the next two years and we are at a stage where every service is being looked at to see how it can be delivered in a more efficient and effective way.
“The youth service is no exception, but we have found, working closely with young people, parents and our partners, a way forward for each area. This ensures we still have a good range of youth activities in the borough – despite the cuts and the current financial situation imposed upon us.
“Following a review of council-owned buildings we’ve taken the decision to close both the 146 Werneth and Failsworth youth centres. 146 Werneth has not operated as a youth centre for over six months and Failsworth Youth Centre is underutilised.
“Most of our other youth centres are currently used by a variety of groups and organisations as wider community assets. We’ve invested in a number of our district town halls so more services can be delivered from one building, including Failsworth’s.
“In Failsworth, youth sessions will be delivered at Failsworth School on Tuesday evenings and Failsworth District Town Hall on Friday evenings. The town hall provides a more central location and will offer better access to more young people from the whole area. Staff will now be based at the town hall and at Limeside Youth Centre.
“In Werneth youth activities are available as usual from a number of local sites including Werneth and Freehold Community Development Project, Coppice Community Centre and Mahdlo.
“We are still urging residents to talk about the our budget proposals as we still need to make difficult decisions in the future. You can visit www.oldham.gov.uk/letstalkbudget”