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Villagers near Lichfield told youth service will continue

A county councillor has said it remains his “priority” to ensure villagers near Lichfield still have a youth service – even without the current building.

Officials from Staffordshire Young People’s Service recently met Whittington parish councillors and local people to discuss the future of the village’s youth centre and opportunities to enhance the activities available for young people in the area.

The meeting came after Staffordshire County Council announced plans to review youth provision across the county in a bid to increase the use of youth centres and community buildings.

Councillor Matthew Ellis

Councillor Matthew Ellis

But Whittington’s County Councillor, Matthew Ellis, said it is essential that youth services continue in the village – even if a new approach was needed. He explained:

“We are facing really tough times nationally and whilst many local authorities are responding to that problem by scrapping their youth services on mass I’m delighted that here, in Staffordshire, that will not happen.  My priority is that Whittington continues to receive good quality youth services. If the way they are provided needs to change but that change guarantees their future I think we must work together to make that happen and I’ll play a full part in doing that.”

Communities across Staffordshire are being asked to look at new ways of hosting youth services.

Plans already being developed in other areas include using village halls, sports clubs and other community facilities as bases in order to reduce costs relating to buildings.

Some buildings where youth services are currently provided have secured additional income from use by other community groups which will help assure their future.

County Councillor Ben Adams, Cabinet Member for Communities and Culture, added:

“We need to get away from the notion of specific youth centre buildings being the only basis for youth service provision. Services for young people will remain in Whittington regardless of what happens to the youth centre. In Staffordshire, we remain committed to providing diverse and interesting activities for young people now and in the future. And in Whittington we’re asking the local community and parish council to help develop plans which will reduce the cost of the existing building or find other ways or places where the provision of youth services can be delivered by the county council.”

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