Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 3°C

min temp: 1°C

Search

Youth support centre will go ahead

PUBLISHED: 13:58 02 August 2001 | UPDATED: 15:16 03 March 2010

A NEW National Lottery-backed advice and support centre for Felixstowe's youngsters is set to get the go-ahead – despite a row over its opening hours.

The desperately-needed £180,000 project, likened to a "junior Citizens Advice Bureau", is to be set up in the town centre to help 13 to 19 year olds through their adolescence.

A NEW National Lottery-backed advice and support centre for Felixstowe's youngsters is set to get the go-ahead – despite a row over its opening hours.

The desperately-needed £180,000 project, likened to a "junior Citizens Advice Bureau", is to be set up in the town centre to help 13 to 19 year olds through their adolescence.

But town councillors have clashed over plans to keep the centre open until 10pm because some fear it will fuel residents' anxieties about the scheme becoming a gathering place for large groups of youths.

Instead they want it to shut at 7pm – although those in favour of a later opening say that will just put the kids back on to the streets and add to local problems.

Felixstowe Youth Development Group is behind the venture, to be set up in an empty second floor office of the building housing the Tesco supermarket on the corner of Hamilton and Cobbold Roads.

It is only yards from a controversial previous possible location, but this time it is further from residents' homes and the access is on a fully-lit busy street. Only one resident has objected.

Suffolk Coastal council's development control sub committee will be told on Wednesday, August 8, that the site is acceptable and can be approved.

Officers recommend opening up to 10pm, but town councillors say it should be 7pm.

Chairman of the town plans committee Andy Smith said there was significant concern from residents in the area and youngsters already gathered on The Triangle opposite the premises and it was felt 7pm was a better closure time.

"We felt the marginal loss of service would be outweighed by the likelihood of forestalling any potential unruly or undesirable behaviour in the area," he said.

But former mayor Gordon Stirrat said the reason was "nonsense" and the teenagers would be kicked out onto the street when the centre was an opportunity to get them off the streets and help them.

Councillor Dennis Carpenter agreed and said he could see no reason for cutting the hours, especially if it was to be a "junior CAB" for advice and help and not a social youth club type of activity.

The youth development group, which previously ran The Zone on the seafront, has stressed it will not be a youth club.

There will be two youth workers on site at all times. It will run clubs and activities, and be a community facility, working with other and like-minded groups, such as social services, holding 'advice clinics' or 'surgeries'.

Activities will include homework facilities for youngsters whose home environment is not suitable for study, and areas for "home tuition" for pupils excluded from school.

It will also be a "neutral territory" for youngsters to meet social workers, probation officers, or find a listening ear and advice on matters such as drugs, alcohol and bullying. It is also planned to hold courses on issues such as parenting skills, anger management, and life-skills.

Most Read

Latest from the Ipswich Star

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists