Villages draw up plans to save youth services

PUBLISHED: 08:00 22 January 2012

Funding could go towards putting on activities such as this music workshop at Bleadon Youth Club (2007)

Funding could go towards putting on activities such as this music workshop at Bleadon Youth Club (2007)

Archant

VILLAGES across North Somerset are working together to ensure the survival of local youth services.

Parish councils, schools, sports and youth clubs and the police have all started discussing how they can fill the void when North Somerset Council cuts the majority of its youth funding on April 1.

Groups and councils from Banwell, Winscombe, Hutton, Locking and Bleadon met on Monday and may form the South Rural Network to offer a variety of different activities to youngsters in the area.

The group could then bid for some of the £250,000 of funding which North Somerset has announced will be available to start up such networks. It is hoped the money would go towards a range of activities that go beyond what the district’s youth service currently offers.

While some clubs, such as Winscombe Youth Club, are run by volunteers, others, such as those in Banwell and Bleadon, are North Somerset-led, and the network would allow the groups to pool resources.

Liz Shayler, chairman of Banwell Parish Council, said: “The idea behind the network is to provide advice and a variety of groups, as well as sharing resources to ensure that we don’t overlap.

“We will look into lots of different things, like running a summer camp for example, that we could offer between the villages. We will also explore the idea of becoming a charitable organisation which will allow us to apply for more funding.”

A spokesman for North Somerset Council said: “We are supporting setting up a number of networks across the district which will provide a framework for commissioning a variety of sustainable positive activities for children and young people in the future.

“We are providing £250,000 to support these networks. The money will be distributed from June.”

The group will hold its next meeting in February.

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