Lowestoft youth centre needs support
A LOWESTOFT youth centre is seeking public support as it battles to survive in the face of funding cuts.
A new management support group has been formed at Colville House Youth Centre in School Road to ensure it remains open after Suffolk County Council withdraws its funding in two years.
The council's decision follows an announcement last November that up to nine youth clubs in Waveney were set to be closed or handed over to voluntary groups as part of its efforts to save millions of pounds.
At Colville House, the new group will be comprised of members of the council-led Colville House Support Group.
The new management body, which will take full responsibility for the centre in March 2013, had to be formed in order to ensure it operated independently of the council. It will also be eligible to apply for charity status.
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Brian Hunter, who is chairman of the old support group and is coordinating the new body, said: 'We're making every endeavour. There is a commitment to keep it going for years to come and we are working on a business plan to see how finance can be raised and the facilities continue to be let out to the groups who currently use them.
'With a little bit of support we can keep it going. If anyone wants to make donations we would of course be more than glad to accept them, but we are looking for a commitment of support in other ways as well. The committee is not very big, we're looking for local figures and community to support us. It would make a great community centre.'
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Colville House is used by about 40 young people every week. Adult learning classes are also held there and the University of 3rd Age, which offers education for the elderly, is among a number of organisations that use it.
The youth club also holds an annual event to celebrate its members' achievements and its youth support workers offer valuable support to young people and young parents in obtaining qualifications.
Mr Hunter said that the county had been generous enough to offer to provide a three-year peppercorn lease by letting them use the building for 1p a year – but new sources of funding were needed to keep it running
Mr Hunter, a former Waveney district councillor, said: 'Lots of people come to the centre to enhance their learning, and it has been so beneficial to the local community. With this new group to run it, the support of the local community and the possibility of charity status, we'll hopefully even be able to expand what we do there.'
The new support group is also looking for local people to tell them what they want and need from the centre. Call Mr Hunter on 01502 582901.