Thornbury Youth Centre saved from closure by Christian charity Krunch
TEENAGERS in Thornbury who feared their youth centre may be lost forever after the local authority revealed it would stop funding the club have welcomed news that a Christian charity will be taking it over before the summer.
The future of Area 35, based at Turnberrie's, looked uncertain last month as administrative delays meant that Krunch's bid to run the centre was not assessed early enough by South Gloucestershire Council, forcing the cash-strapped club to close until a solution was found.
The charity's initial request of a mammoth £38,842 out of the Severn Vale Area Forum’s £42,563 youth funding pot, towards the cost of running the town’s youth centre, also made it less likely to be successful in its bid and therefore delay further or even block altogether the takeover of the youth centre.
The forum's 'positive activities fund' was designed to be split between all groups in the region, not allocated to one in particular.
Following discussions with the local authority the charity agreed to lower its bid to £26,415 and was granted the full amount, allowing it to start running Thornbury Youth Centre from April/May onwards. This left £16,148 for other groups to bid for.
Penny Baker, Krunch representative, said the sum would not only be used towards activities for people in Thornbury but to eventually extend youth work far beyond the town, for instance by arranging for teenagers in more rural areas to be picked up and taken to the town's centre.
"We are looking to work with local organisations in Thornbury and the local area where we can deliver a joint approach, and support providers in other villages," she said. "This is a start and our vision is to widen the provision for young people."
Severn Vale Area Forum member Cllr Matthew Riddle (Con, Severn), who had deemed Krunch’s bid to be much too high, welcomed the compromise.
"In the past we have had a youth club in Thornbury that has taken a lot of resources and left not much at all for youth clubs in the rest of the area," he said.
"I’m heartened to hear the commitment from Krunch."
Thornbury Youth Centre will close its doors as planned today, March 14, but should reopen within the next month.
Thornbury Town Cllr and Forum member Maggie Tyrrell told the Gazette: "We've got what we think is a very good organisation to back this and it's good news. We are pretty sure they will do a good job."