Burnley youth clubs face cutbacks and reduced opening hours

Misfar Hassan
Misfar Hassan

SCORES of young people in Burnley will see youth clubs reduce their hours as part of massive cuts to youth services by Lancashire County Council.

Gannow Youth and Community Centre, Burnley Boys’ Club, Padiham Youth Club, Brunshaw Youth Club, Belmont Community Centre and Burnley Infocentre will all see their opening hours and support reduced.

The cuts have drawn stinging criticism from Burnley Labour County Coun. Dr Misfar Hassan who fears they will result in increased anti-social behaviour.

He said: “Decisions carried out in haste and without proper consultation and identification of the needs of the communities will not prove useful to the communities or decision makers.

“Burnley, being one of the most deprived boroughs of the country, has been further deprived of meagre services the community benefited from and relied upon significantly.

“It is time for the people to seriously think about such changes that can jeopardise the future of generations to come.”

Four evenings and one daytime session will be lost from Gannow Youth Centre, five evenings will be withdrawn from Burnley Boys’ Club, one daytime session from Brunshaw Youth Club, and the opening hours of Burnley infocentre halved.

Lancashire County Council defended the cuts by saying it had been forced to save £179m. over the next three years. The Young People’s Service will have to contribute £8.4m. towards the savings.

County bosses still insisted resources will be concentrated on the 13 to 19 age group, areas of highest deprivation, areas with the highest concentrations of young people and on those who are most vulnerable.

It said young people and other partners had been consulted on the restructure which will result in the establishment of “youth zones” in every district.

Youth work will continue to be carried out in each district area, information centres for young people will be located in town centres and there will be more targeted youth support work for specific groups of young people.

County Coun. Mark Perks, Cabinet member for young people, said: “We are facing up to a very challenging financial settlement.

“The change will not only help the council to achieve its target, but will result in better-focused services for young people that will meet their needs and expectations.

“For example, there will be a key centre in each district area in a prime location running as a ‘youth zone’. Each centre will be surrounded by satellite services in each district, including Young People’s Centres and a detached project.

“There will also be information, advice and guidance centres – Infocentres – for young people, mainly based in town centre locations. Satellite services will consist of advice and guidance services provided in schools, colleges and other educational and training institutions.”

As part of the reorganisation, the Young People’s Service will withdraw from 12 buildings and reduce some services in others.

“However, we will explore every option to ensure that these buildings are available for future use by community groups,” said Councillor Perks.

“Super satellites” will be based at Stoneyholme and Daneshouse Youth and Community Centre and Stoops and Hargher Clough Youth and Community Centre. Satellites will also be based at Brunshaw and Padiham Youth Clubs.