Youth club axe plan is attacked

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A UNION member has called on residents to rally against county council cost-cutting plans to shut youth clubs.

Unison activist and youth worker Maz Jeffrey claimed youngsters will be hit hard by Derbyshire County Council’s controversial proposals – which cast doubt over the future of the authority’s centres.

The Tory-led council – which needs to save £100m over the next five years – is proposing to offer grants to voluntary and community groups so they can provide activities for 13-to-19-year-olds instead.

The authority employs 157 youth workers and if the changes are passed the council will hold talks with at-risk staff.

Concerned Miss Jeffrey, 25, who works at Alfreton’s at-risk Polygon Youth Centre, said: “Young people are going to suffer because of these cuts – they’re an attack on our youngsters.

“We need youth clubs – young people need somewhere safe to go – and they provide vital advice on all sort of things like sexual health and drug and alcohol abuse.

“We’re NVQ level trained and I’m concerned the voluntary and community sector won’t get the same quality of training which will affect the youngsters.

“If I lost my job, I’d be absolutely devastated because I really do love my work – in fact I’ve just started a university course to further my career.”

Last week, council chiefs voted to launch a ten-week public consultation on the plans before making a final decision.

Miss Jeffrey, of Somercotes, said: “When this consultation starts, I want people to stand up against these plans.”

A council spokesman said: “We understand that this is a difficult time for our staff – they will be able to have their say during the consultation process which starts in early January.”

l What do you think of these plans? Email comment@derbyshiretimes.co.uk.

michael.broomhead

@derbyshiretimes.co.uk