THORNBURY bosses, faced with major district cuts to provision for youngsters, have pledged £10,000 a year to keep the town’s youth centre "alive", the Gazette can reveal.
The unprecedented grant is a first in Thornbury history and shows, a councillor said, town leaders’ commitment to safeguarding frontline services for young people.
Town Cllr Maggie Tyrrell told the Gazette: "We have £10,000 in the budget to help support the youth programme in the town. We are committed to keeping the youth service alive in the town. It will make a big difference."
Last year, the youth centre’s running cost came to £132,104, according to its last financial statement.
Town bosses, who did not hide their anger at South Gloucestershire Council’s decision to stop funding seven of its 13 youth clubs last summer, including Thornbury’s, vowed to explore every avenue to protect youth provision locally.
Last week, they voted to contribute £10,000 towards youth services each year.
This is the largest cash injection it has ever made into the service.
"We’ve occasionally funded special projects," Cllr Tyrrell added. "We paid for the youth centre to be open on Friday night for instance but it was not well used at the time so it was not continued.
"We’ve not paid a lump sum like this before just for a youth centre and youth work. We definitely need to support youth work in the town."
The sum will be go towards supporting whichever charity or private organisation takes over the youth club when South Gloucestershire Council stops running it, along with six of its other centres in the region in April.
One group so far has bid to take over the centre, Christian charity Krunch.
The local authority is currently examining the the organisation's offer and business plan. Despite relinquishing control of more than half of its centres, South Gloucestershire Council has put aside around £400,000 towards supporting the seven clubs.
Each centre will get to bid for a share of this Positive Activities Fund.