Youth centre campaigners vow to keep fighting against closure until the council ‘locks the door’

From the Slough Observer:

THE co-founder of a youth centre is vowing to fight against its closure until the council ‘lock the door’ on it. Slough Young People’s Centre is set to close in September 2013 after Slough Borough Council (SBC) Cabinet agreed to an overhaul of youth services at a meeting on Monday (10).

But an online petition launched on Tuesday last week by Hazel Goldman, who co-founded the centre in 1996, has already gained support from 556 people calling for the centre to stay open.

If it reaches 1,500 by the end of January, the council will be forced to hold another meeting to discuss the proposals.

Ms Goldman said:

“It’s incredibly disappointing, but as long as there are young people who want to make use of the centre, we will keep fighting right until they lock the door.”

Following a review between June and August, and a consultation with Slough’s Youth Cabinet and groups of youngsters, SBC said current youth services were ‘inflexible’ and ‘not meeting the needs of younger people’.

The services provided at the youth centre, used by more than 1,000 will be replaced by seven community projects around the town, starting in Manor Park and Chalvey in March.

Cabinet also agreed to scrap the youth bus service from 2014 during the meeting at Chalvey Community Centre in The Green.

The council would invest £240,000 in the new model, which aims to reach 2,500 youngsters.

Commissioner for opportunities and skills Cllr Pavitar Mann said: “We have a responsibility to help as many youngsters as possible.”

Joel Gumbs, 25, who used to attend Slough Young People’s Centre, was at the Cabinet meeting.

He said:

“If you have interests, the centre allows you to express them. It gives young people an outlet and keeps them off the street.”

To sign the petition, see www.change.org/petitions/slough-borough-council-reject-the-proposals-to-close-slough-young-peoples-centre

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