Youth clubs' rescue 'vindicates Big Society idea'

First published in Oxford by

ALL the youth clubs that lost Oxfordshire County Council funding in September are to be saved through community initiatives.

A set of recommendations to go to the council’s cabinet on Tuesday will result in Big Society cash going to 12 of the 13 youth clubs threatened with closure, while the final one, Henley, has continued to run despite the council cuts.

It means all the 26 youth clubs that had been county council-run will continue to provide some level of youth work.

Councillor Kieron Mallon, who is behind the Big Society initiative, said: “There have been a lot of doom-mongers who have closed their eyes and ears to what we have been trying to achieve.”

He added: “It is a remarkable achievement that we are in such a positive position despite the fact that the council had less money to spend on youth services as a result of the £119m cuts it is having to make.”

The council faced criticism from young people, police officers, and community groups when it announced that a restructuring of the county’s youth provision would save £4.2m a year.

Funding was withdrawn from 13 youth centres, and instead six early intervention hubs were set up in East Oxford, Littlemore, Abingdon, Didcot, Witney and Banbury to tackle truancy, teenage pregnancy, drug and alcohol abuse, young offending and problem families.

In addition, six satellite centres in Barton, Rose Hill, Blackbird Leys, Donnington, Berinsfield and Kidlington have continued to offer youth work sessions.

But all other youth clubs across the county lost their funding.

Councillors set up a £600,000 Big Society Fund to give one-off start-up cash for volunteer groups to run projects in their communities.

In the first wave of grants in July, groups in Wood Farm, Wheatley, Faringdon, Wolvercote, Carterton, Eynsham, Chipping Norton and Wantage were given cash to secure the youth clubs’ futures. The Saxon Centre, Headington, has been sold to the Oxford Boxing Academy to secure its future.

On Tuesday, the council’s cabinet is set to approve another wave of grants to save three more youth clubs.

Thame’s youth centre will be transferred to Lord Williams’ School, and in Sonning Common, the Chiltern Edge youth club will become part of the Chiltern Edge School.

In Wallingford, councillors are set to approve a £20,042 bid to house the youth club and other community facilities at a former church in Wigod Way.

Big Society grants of £4,000 in Cholsey, £5,000 in Fringford, £9,500 for a radio programme run by young people with learning disabilities, and £45,000 towards the Oxford Wheels Project, which wants to build a new skate park in Meadow Lane, East Oxford, are also set for approval.

Comments (4)

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7:41pm Fri 14 Oct 11

Feelingsmatter says...

Councillor Kieron Mallon, who is behind the Big Society initiative, said: “There have been a lot of doom-mongers who have closed their eyes and ears to what we have been trying to achieve.”


They're only running because of the money being thrown at them! Talk about robbing Peter to pay Paul! Pure BS.
Councillor Kieron Mallon, who is behind the Big Society initiative, said: “There have been a lot of doom-mongers who have closed their eyes and ears to what we have been trying to achieve.” They're only running because of the money being thrown at them! Talk about robbing Peter to pay Paul! Pure BS. Feelingsmatter
  • Score: 0

9:39pm Fri 14 Oct 11

ItscalledspinIcallitlying says...

Communities, we will shut your youth centres and if you want them to remain you will have to do it yourselves.

That's not the Big Society, that's bullying.

The Tories really do buy their own PR rubbish.
Communities, we will shut your youth centres and if you want them to remain you will have to do it yourselves. That's not the Big Society, that's bullying. The Tories really do buy their own PR rubbish. ItscalledspinIcallitlying
  • Score: 0

9:57pm Fri 14 Oct 11

Feelingsmatter says...

LOL! That's just beautiful Itscalled!
LOL! That's just beautiful Itscalled! Feelingsmatter
  • Score: 0

1:02pm Mon 17 Oct 11

oxinkytext says...

Just like his boss Keith Mitchell, I am afraid Kieron Mallon insults the many people who have always volunteered in youth centres, schools, elderly care, etc. This follows the latest tirade from Mr Mitchell against well respected Oxfordshire residents, which has now become a national embarrassment for the county. Do we really need this PR spin from local Conservatives - surely they should just be getting on with the job if they really believe it is working? It is about time Mr. Mitchell and company did the honourable thing and resigned instead of trying to "repaint" history.
Just like his boss Keith Mitchell, I am afraid Kieron Mallon insults the many people who have always volunteered in youth centres, schools, elderly care, etc. This follows the latest tirade from Mr Mitchell against well respected Oxfordshire residents, which has now become a national embarrassment for the county. Do we really need this PR spin from local Conservatives - surely they should just be getting on with the job if they really believe it is working? It is about time Mr. Mitchell and company did the honourable thing and resigned instead of trying to "repaint" history. oxinkytext
  • Score: 0

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