Wellington’s youth centre was only weeks from closing until the town council agreed to rescue it with a funding package worth £51,000 over three years. The meeting heard a detailed account from Cllr Andy Govier about the financial problems at the centre and voted almost unanimously to support a rescue plan.
Councillors praised the work of the centre in providing a safe location where young people could socialise on two weekday evenings and have help and advice available from experienced youth workers.
“It’s no longer a youth club where kids go to play ping pong. There are all sorts of important counselling services and support,” said Cllr Peter Critchard. He was supported by Cllr Charles Biscoe who added that supporting the centre was a “proper use of council funds and has a demonstrable effect on the town”.
A dissenting voice came from Cllr John Thorne who queried whether the rescue cash represented value for money. “I’m not going to support spending £17,000 a year for three years to deliver four hours a week of youth club activity,” he said. “When it comes to drug abuse or teenage pregnancies, there are other agencies that do that kind of work.”
Town clerk Greg Dyke explained that saving the youth centre would only require just over £6,000 per year of new expenditure as there was already a degree of spending in the same area that could be diverted to the youth centre.