By Carl Jackson 31/08 Updated: 31/08 11:07
CLAIMS have been made that Worcestershire County Councillors could decide to sell off Rubery Youth Centre at the authority’s next cabinet meeting next month.
The Standard understands cashing in on the building, which young campaigners have battled so hard to save, is the main recommendation for when it goes before members on September 27.
Coun Peter McDonald contacted The Standard about the centre’s future after meeting with Richard Keble, the county council’s head of commissioning, children’s services. He said, following that, selling off the building was the leading proposal.
“Rubery will be left without any youth centre and will be throwing our young people onto the streets. It is outrageous.
“It is a spiteful and mean way to treat our young, after the Olympics we were supposed to be inspiring a generation, not leaving them to fend for themselves.”
The Labour councillor further slammed the county council and accused it of getting its priorities wrong.
And he claimed there were no plans to reinvest the cash raised specifically in youth services for Rubery.
He added any money made from a sale should be spent on upgrading Rubery Library on the opposite side of the road so it could accommodate youth services.
Coun McDonald pointed out that the county council invested £200,000 on a mock Ashmolean Museum in Broadway.
“I am forced to ask, does investment in youth provision and the arts depend more on where you live than on who needs the money the most?”
Campaigner Yasmin Millward told The Standard she and other campaigners felt let down and claimed promises had been broken.
“We will keep fighting our cause no matter what, as we truly believe that youth services are vital to this community - this is not just for the young people of today, but the young people of tomorrow.”
Phil Payne, from Rubery Neighbourhood Watch which has worked with the youth centre, labelled it a ‘sad day’.
“It’s easy to say there will still be a youth service, but there will not be the same level of equipment.
“The centre has a studio, computers and sports facilities.
“I’m proud of the Rubery youth who have had the determination to fight for what they wanted,” he said.
A Worcestershire County Council spokeswoman said she was unable to discuss the proposals as they were still being considered.
County councillor Liz Eyre, the lead member for children’s services, confirmed Rubery Youth Centre was on the agenda for the meeting later next month and moved to reassure residents that youth services in the area would be maintained.
“Youth Services or Positive Activities for Young People will continue in Rubery which has been seen as a target area.
“Decisions about which local organisations will provide future activities will be taken through the council’s commissioning process.
“While this is underway the council has pledged there will be no gap in services for young people.”
THE CHIEF Executive of NHS Worcestershire, Eamonn Kelly
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