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New staff relishing challenge at Kidderminster youth centre
THE new managers of a Kidderminster youth centre which was threatened with closure believe they have an “exciting opportunity”
to build on services for the town’s youngsters.
But they also warned they need to secure long-term funding to guarantee its future.
Kidderminster Youth Trust took over the running of Bromsgrove Street-based Kidderminster and District Youth Centre from Worcestershire County Council on Tuesday last week.
Two managers – Ben Bennett, youth activities co-ordinator and Mike Brooke, youth development officer – have been appointed and spoke to The Shuttle about the task facing them.
The trust will receive £118,000 a year – £14,000 per year less than it applied for – from Worcestershire County Council to run the service after the authority decided it would not renew its lease on the youth centre building after March this year.
The funding deal does not cover building running costs and only runs until March, 2015, which has led to Worcestershire Youth Cabinet’s Wyre Forest representative Phil Arthurs-Thompson, 14, voicing his fears about the centre’s future.
Mr Bennett said: “Of course there are concerns but we are lucky to have the funding and will see how far we can take it. We are looking for a seamless transition. Youth club will continue and we will look to improve the service.”
Mr Brooke added: “It is an exciting opportunity – we have a lot we can do here in Kidderminster.
“We have to plan ahead – we want to look five and 10 years down the line because that gives young people hope – but we also have to live in the moment and be positive in these economically challenging times.
“Where we will need help from local people and businesses will be to keep the building going and fund trips and activities which will really impact on children’s lives. We hope to do a volunteer drive to recruit staff.”
Mr Bennett was previously the centre’s senior youth worker and Mr Brooke takes on the role having been Wyre Forest and Wychavon team leader for youth services.
It was feared the centre could close after the county council changed the way it provided “positive activities”
– youth services – in 2011 but the youth trust confirmed last year it would be able to keep it going.