Barcode facing uncertain future

PUBLISHED: 09:00 24 June 2011

(click on image for larger view) Barcode Youth Cafe Sign.

(click on image for larger view) Barcode Youth Cafe Sign.

Archant

WESTON’S Barcode Youth Café faces an uncertain future after an application for a key chunk of funding was rejected.

Town council bosses learned this week that an application to the Big Lottery Fund for three years of grant funding worth £263,000 had been turned down.

The news will now force the authority to try alternative sources to fund the cafe in South Parade for the next financial year, after the decision, which was described as ‘surprising’ by town clerk Malcolm Nicholson.

The town council had a first application turned down earlier this month, but only because information had been omitted from the application.

But the authority was told that the second application was turned down because the evidence supporting the application was not strong enough in the face of competitive bids from other organisations.

The funding would have come to £84,000 for the next financial year, £87,000 for 2012/13 and £91,000 for 2013/14.

The council will now not be able to apply to the Big Lottery Fund for another four months, meaning it must now turn to other grant-giving organisations to help fund the facility for the next financial year.

Mr Nicholson said: “I’m very disappointed and surprised by this decision. We will now be applying to other funding organisations for this funding.”

Town councillor Clare Kingsbury-Bell said of the decision: “It’s a blow. But the town council budget doesn’t rely on getting the grant, so it is budgeted to pay for Barcode.

“However, it’s going to be really important for Barcode to bring in a bit more money to help pay for itself now there is no grant.

“Already schools hold end of term parties there and kids hire it for birthday parties, but we need more outside groups making use of it and more young people through the door.”

Matthew Yardley, chairman of the Youth Council which helps to run Barcode, said: “I think it’s an awful shame because I think Barcode has been an absolutely fantastic for young people in Weston.

“I think we need to encourage young people to get through the doors and use it, and we as the Youth Council will be looking to do that.”

Cllr Kingsbury-Bell added that she is setting up a press team of young people to promote the café around the town, with interested youngsters aged from 11-18 able to put their name down with the manager at Barcode.

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