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By EXCLUSIVE by Friday 14 December 2012 Updated: 19/12 10:03
RUBERY Youth Centre, which was due to close on December 31, leaving its teenage users with nowhere to go, has been given a stay of execution, The Standard can reveal.
Worcestershire County Council has now decided to keep the much-loved venue open until March, marking a small victory for the young people who have campaigned hard for more than two years to save their 'second home' on New Road.
Although they are still set to lose the centre, the delay has given them a lifeline so they can forge ahead with plans to form their own trust and relocate to a new building in the village.
Jamie Davies, 19, who is spearheading the campaign to maintain Rubery's youth services, welcomed the decision.
"Its great news - next Monday would have been our last day there, and there really wasn't enough time to do everything.
"It takes the pressure off a little." he said.
The county councillor responsible for the area, Peter McDonald, has backed the youngsters' fight and labelled the decision as a 'fantastic achievement'.
"To have a reprieve is wonderful news for the young people and residents.
"It gives them more time to put together a bid to ensure we continue to have youth provision in Rubery."
In October, Worcestershire County Council announced it would shut the centre on December 31, claiming it was unfit for purpose and would cost £374,000 to bring it up to standard.
And the authority, which is aiming to save £2million on youth services throughout the county, initially refused pleas from the campaigners to keep the centre open until June to allow them time to form their own trust.
Richard Keble, the county council's head of joint commissioning, said the decision was made after a company applying to take over youth services in the area pulled out.
He said: "In order to ensure no gap in continuation of positive activities for young people, it has been decided to extend provision of youth services at Rubery Youth Centre for a further three months to the end of March 2013.
"This will allow time to explore other options.
"The county council is committed to the continuation of positive activities for young people across the county, investing over £1million annually in commissioning of positive activities."
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