Wiltshire Publications

Youngsters disappointed as youth club closes

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DESPITE a successful campaign for new volunteers in  the White Horse News, Westbury Youth Club has had to shut its doors permanently.

An appeal for more volunteers to run the club in the last issue of White Horse News,  helped the club gain six interested applications to become volunteers to keep the club running. But the trustees at Leigh Park Community Centre, where over 30 members of the youth club met once a week, decided to close the club during their meeting on Tuesday 26th March.

Youth club leader, Beth Mullins-Watts said, “Thank you for running the story on Westbury Youth Club – we have had six responses. However, it is with regret that the trustees of Leigh Park Community Centre have decided  to close the youth club permanently. I did ask for them to wait to see the response from the article in the White Horse News, but the decision was to close it and not give it a chance.

“I have tried and failed to find an alternative venue to keep the youth club running. There is a need for it in Westbury – we had 30-35 members a session, with more interested, and we were going to move to the bigger hall at the centre to accommodate this.

“Our members even started a petition to save the youth club.” 

Debbie Cole, manager at Leigh Park Community Centre said, “The Trustees have been advertising for volunteers for the last couple of years and we have had more volunteers leave than those who have come forward in this time. 

“We did manage recently to secure a £10,000 grant from the National Lottery for paid staff and we have been advertising over the last three months for paid staff and volunteers. Unfortunately, we have only had one application for a paid staff member come forward.

“The trustees met on 26th March where they discussed again the Westbury Youth Club. It was decided that as there were insufficient volunteers and staff come forward, they had no choice but to close the youth club for the short term. 

“The trustees were extremely disappointed but had to take into account the safeguarding of the youth club members and shortage of staff as priority. The trustees will look again next year to see if any training and funding is available and will re-visit the re-opening of the youth club accordingly.”