Commit to Barcode say lottery bosses

A MASSIVE lottery grant which would help secure the future of Weston's youth cafe will only be considered if councillors vote to keep it open for at least 10 years

A MASSIVE lottery grant which would help secure the future of Weston's youth cafe will only be considered if councillors vote to keep it open for at least 10 years. Barcode in South Parade is in the running for a £320,000 grant from the Lottery Commission but, because town councillors are currently debating its future, it says it will only stand a chance of getting the cash if they commit to the South Parade venue for 10 years. A decision is due to be made at a full council meeting on March 13.This week it was revealed that Barcode has been used as a case study for best practice on youth involvement within town and parish councils. A nationally distributed leaflet entitled 'All About Parish and Town Councils' states: "Barcode has become a hub of activity in the town endorsed by the Home Office and the Prince's Trust as an example of an excellent youth facility."The NALC represents more than 10,000 parish and town councils across the UK. Support has also been building on the Back Barcode website set up by Cllr Mike Bell at www.backbarcode.co.ukHundreds of messages calling for the venue to stay open have been received from as far afield as Australia.Aussie Paul Radford left the following message on the website: "Keep it going you tight b*****ds!"However, Tory councillors and Conservative MP John Penrose are still voicing concerns over how much Barcode costs and dispute the official town council accounts saying it costs more than the £2 a year per taxpayer stated.Mr Penrose said: "It's a brilliant success in a great location, and I'd like to see it extended to cover other parts of town like Worle as well. But success comes at a cost and, like anything else, Barcode needs reliable finances to survive."The bill for local taxpayers might be £650,000, or as much as £1m over the life of the proposed 10-year lease. The figures are far too woolly for a decision of this size and importance. Councillors must make their decision on the basis of costs which have been properly identified and independently audited.


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