Youth club closures in Dorset to be investigated

Youth club closures in Dorset to be investigated

Published by Maria Greenwood at 7:59am 24th February 2020.

An investigation will be held into the closure and transfer of Dorset youth clubs under the previous Dorset County Council.

Conservative councillor Andrew Kerby (Winterborne North) claims there has been difficulties for some communities trying to take over the clubs – including running up thousands of pounds in fees to obtain legal agreements.

He says that, even today, some clubs are still having problems and in some areas youth clubs remained empty for years because of the way the closures and transfers took place.

Cllr Kerby has asked for a full review into the former DCC youth service transfer to learn lessons from the exercise for the future and to rectify any problems found.

Cllr Andrew Kerby Feb 20
Cllr Andrew Kerby speaks about youth club transfers.

At a council meeting he said:

"We have some excellent youth centres – many are far more successful now than they ever were under the former Dorset County Council (DCC) and I very much recognise the hard-work and dedication that paid staff and volunteers contribute to ensuring our young people have a safe space to learn and grow.

"This success of our community youth provision is made even more remarkable considering that many of the youth charities and groups, still, after all these years, have serious unresolved issues …including the transfers where through no fault of the community groups or children, youth centres sat empty for years.

"Other youth charities have been left to pay thousands in fees, to rectify legal situations… taking money that should have been spent on providing frontline services."

youth

Cabinet member for children’s services Cllr Andrew Parry said he found it ‘regrettable’ that Cllr Kerby felt the need to raise the issue of the transfers but asked him to provide the details of his concerns so they could be investigated.

"We recognise the benefits in the setting up a cross-council Executive Advisory Panel (EAP), tasked with examining the predecessor council’s youth offer.

"On the advice of the Monitoring Officer, the findings from this EAP, should be reported through the People Scrutiny Committee and onto Cabinet…

"I hope Cllr Kerby and other councillors with a keen interest in Dorset Council’s commitment to children and young people, will wish to participate, so that, going forward we can all have renewed confidence in our youth offer."


By Local Democracy Reporter, Trevor Bevins