Seven youth centres across Kent set to close in shake-up affecting almost 100 jobs
Youth centres where
children play sports including football are under threat
by political editor Paul Francis
A radical shake-up of Kent's youth services will see more
than 20 new organisations from the private and voluntary sector
running key services for around 131,000 young people.
Kent County Council has announced the latest phase of a
re-organisation aimed partly at saving about £1.4million.
Nearly 100 jobs are to go while several youth centres are likely
to close because KCC has not been able to find groups to take them
However, youth service chiefs say they expect services to
be better as a result of their plans - with many areas seeing
A total of 24 different organisations are to be provided with
contracts to take over services previously run by the county
They are a mix of charities, social enterprises and voluntary
groups. Some contracts have gone to former KCC staff, who set up
their own groups to bid for contracts.
The move follows a lengthy consultation over KCC's plans, which
initially attracted some criticism.
changes, many activities will be "street-based" and there will be
less focus on services being run from youth centres.
As part of the revamp, seven youth centres face uncertainty as
there was no interest from outside groups in taking them over.
They are: Archers Court Youth Centre, Dover; Artwise Youth
Cente, Ramsgate; Aylesham Youth Centre, near Deal; Lenham Youth
Centre, near Maidstone; Miracles Youth Centre, Gravesend and the
XCYC Youth Centre based at Ashford's John Wallis Academy
In one area, a school is to take over all youth services. The
Canterbury Academy has won all four contracts for running services
across the whole area.
Cllr Mike Hill (Con), KCC cabinet member for communities, said:
"I want to reassure young people, their families and local
communities that through the activities directly delivered by KCC
and in partnership with these commissioned organisations, there
will be high quality services in every area and for some, there
will be even more on offer than before."
The new operators will take over youth services under the
arrangements in January.
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