Popular youth centre axed

A POPULAR youth club in Nailsea is closing down due to a lack of funding.

A POPULAR youth club in Nailsea is closing down due to a lack of funding.

North Somerset Council has decided to cut its funding for The Methodist Youth Club of Nailsea (Mycon), in Silver Street, which attracts around 200 young people a week.

Nailsea town councillors are devastated that the valuable service will be lost and say it will leave a huge hole in the town.

Nailsea Town Council had agreed to give the centre its usual £25,000 grant, but its three-year grant of £30,000 from the Tudor Trust ran out this year.

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North Somerset Council refused to plug the gap and has decided to halve its usual grant, meaning the Mycon would need to find a further £40,000 to stay open.

Speaking at a town council meeting on Wednesday, chairman Mary Ponsonby, said: "There is very definitely a difference between the Mycon and Youth House from the children's points of view. They either go to one or the other and not both. "We were hoping North Somerset Council would consider another alternative which we could buy into.

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"We would like to set up a youth club in the Scotch Horn Leisure Centre and use the new youth café which is going in there as well as the facilities.

"But Scotch Horn is owned by North Somerset Council and we've knocked on every door and had a resounding 'no'.

"We have tried everything to keep it going. As the years go on we'll realise just what we've lost in losing the senior youth worker who's there and the facility in Nailsea."

Mycon opens four nights a week and staff also work with young people in the town's schools and on the streets, tackling issues such as homelessness, drugs and family problems. It also runs a boxing club and a mechanics workshop as well as drop-in sessions and counselling services.

Nailsea town councillor, Liz Frappell, who is on the management committee of the Mycon, said: "It will be an absolutely huge loss. It's just unbelievable.

"The youth worker, Andy O Kane is one of the most inspirational youth leaders we've ever had in the town."

But, Jeremy Blatchford, North Somerset Council's executive member for Children and Young People's Services, said the project is not viable any more.

He said: "To fill the gap, we would have to put in £40,000 and there's no way we can finance that. We have other plans for Nailsea.

"We are in the process of reorganising the youth services and we are in discussions with other youth providers about providing more services in the area than we currently do.

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