YOUNGSTERS will be left hanging around the streets, claim residents angered by a decision to move a popular youth club to a central hub.
Gibbonsdown residents – together with community champion Molly Conway – spoke out after Vale Council cabinet members approved a report recommending youth service provision was formulated into three hubs – Barry at the YMCA (Court Road), Penarth at West House and at Llantwit Major Youth Centre.
In a report put before cabinet members this week, it was noted youth service had to be effective in meeting performance expectations and centralisation would save more than £58,000.
The report said using the Holm View Leisure Centre Youth Room has been a long-standing arrangement with Leisure Services and Parkwood, but there had been historical issues over the use of the leisure facilities and costs in this regard had risen, making operations at the centre less cost effective.
It stated: “Movement of youth centres may initially result in a rise in young people being more visible in public spaces. However the planned increase in street-based provision will ensure that this is not associated with an increase in anti-social behaviour.”
But Gibbonsdown residents panned the idea saying it would be difficult for young people to access the club.
Barry Youth Centre (BYC), based at Holm View Leisure Centre, Gibbonsdown, opens on Monday and Tuesday, 7pm-9pm, during school term time.
It features a pool table, a big screen, table tennis, computers and games consoles with opportunities to use the centre's main hall and astroturf.
Gibbonsdown resident and dad-of-two Mike Painting said the relocation idea was “stupid”.
Mr Painting, 32, said: “The kids that would be going are just going to be hanging around the streets. I would say 100 percent wouldn’t be going. They’ve not got the money and not many around here have cars. We have got nothing.”
Gibbonsdown Residents Board chairwoman Molly Conway said parents would not want young children to walk to and from the YMCA in the evenings or use when public transport was infrequent.
She said: “Bus fares are so expensive and there’s not that many people in Gibbonsdown who have got money.”
Resident Tracey Adams, who has wanted a youth centre for Cadoxton, said neither the Vale or town council cared.
She said: “All they are bothered about is getting more revenue from building flats and houses, not investing in the youth and their futures.
“It makes me mad because they walk around the streets getting stopped and searched by the police just for walking on the street.
“If there are more than about five or six youths together they tell them they have to split up because there's too many of them.
“If there was a youth centre they could all meet there in the warmth, have visits from speakers, evening classes, cafe, all sorts of stuff.
“Get the youths to help run it so they feel involved and have a say.”
Vale Council cabinet member for children’s services Cllr Chris Elmore said he was “delighted” the youth hubs had been approved saying current premises at Ysgol Maes Dyfan would close when the school moved into the Penarth Learning Community and Area 41, on Holton Road, was already out of commission due to structural building issues.
He said: “Barry hasn’t got a dedicated youth centre, but will get one.
“The Holm View club was a room in a leisure centre. What we are talking about now is a new hub. It will be somewhere they can go and there will also be learning areas.”
VALE AM Jane Hutt said:"It is important that the Vale Council is developing the Youth Service as a priority for new opportunities for our young people in Barry with the hub being a focal point for so many activities.
“I am also impressed with the voluntary youth work that takes place across Barry and with the involvement of the PCSOs in youth activities.”
Vale MP Alun Cairns there seemed little logic behind the idea.
He said: “Some of the most deprived communities are being let down. There needs to be a public debate around this.
“I have previously called on the Vale to make full use of voluntary groups such as scouts, guides and football clubs amongst many others. They can often achieve more with less.
“They have taken these decisions without any consultation.”
Gibbonsdown councillor Rob Curtis had not responded at the time of going to press.