TWO councils have joined forces to put on extra nights at a youth centre.
Deeping St James Parish Council and Market Deeping Town Council have both set aside funds to keep the Deeping Youth Centre in Eastgate, Deeping St James, open.
The centre’s future looked bleak when Lincolnshire County Council, which owns the building, stopped funding three out of the four nights it used to provide every week, sparking fears the centre could close.
But councillors rallied round, found some funds and formed a charity to ensure there was still somewhere for young people to go in the Deepings.
Chairman of Deeping St James Parish Council, Coun Phil Dilks, said: “I am very pleased that the parish council decided to put the money up for an extra night a week.
“The local community is in the process of saving the youth centre because we value it. It would be appalling if the centre were to close.”
The county council has slashed its funding for youth services in recent years, and has since August has only paid for one night a week at each of its youth centres.
In 2007/08 the council spent £3,203,290 on youth services. This year funding had dropped to £1,881,660, and it is estimated that next year the budget could be as low as £887,561.
Deeping St James Parish Council and Market Deeping Town Council have promised to fund one night a week at the centre each until April. They have both pledged a further £4,000 to keep it open beyond April, providing Lincolnshire County Council opts to continue funding its own night.
Town councillor Coun Roy Stephenson is a trustee of the newly-formed Deeping Youth Centre Charity.
He said: “It’s good to be working with the parish council. It would be a terrible waste of a good building and an awful shame to lose experienced youth workers.”
Chairman of Deeping St James United Charities Carol Precey is also a trustee of the youth centre charity.
She said: “Everyone in the community thinks this is a good thing to happen. Both councils, the police and the community centre are behind us.”
“As a former youth worker I know how important it is to have somewhere young people can call their own.”