A new youth centre for Staple Hill moved a step closer tonight with South Gloucestershire Council allocating £350,000 to the scheme in next financial year’s Capital Programme. The sum has been earmarked to convert space in the old primary school into a custom-made youth centre. However, local councillors Ian Boulton and Shirley Potts continue to warn that the plan is not yet “a done deal” and they will keep up their campaign until the scheme is finally approved.
At present, youth services in Staple Hill are run by the local Methodist Church out of their own premises. Everybody involved acknowledges that the space available is far from ideal and that a custom-made youth centre would provide improved facilities. When Staple Hill Primary School vacated its old buildings in 2011, this became the community’s preferred venue for the youth centre. The main obstacle to moving has been finding the funds needed to convert the space into a brand new youth centre.
Labour councillor Michael Bell (Rodway ward) told tonight’s meeting that the young people who use the current service actively support a move to the old school, as do their youth workers. He drew the councillors’ attention to written submissions of support from the local Police Community Support Officers and urged the Council to earmark £350,000, as proposed by Labour as part of the annual budget negotiations between the political parties. This was agreed and now forms part of the Capital Programme for 2014/15. However, this spending is still subject to detailed consideration by the Children & Young People’s Services Committee.
Speaking after the vote, Staple Hill’s Labour councillors Ian Boulton and Shirley Potts said:
“We are thrilled to have moved a step closer with a firm figure now in the capital programme for a refurbished youth centre. However, we are under no illusions that we need to keep fighting on until the scheme is finally agreed. We shall make sure that the further detailed consideration by the Children & Young People’s Services Committee is informed by the strength of local opinion.”
19th March 2014