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County’s cuts set to shut East Lancashire youth clubs
SEVERAL youth clubs look set to close and almost 70 jobs will be lost as part of a major shake-up of the county’s provision for children and young adults.
County Hall bosses say £8.4m must be found as part of the £179m cuts programme over the next three years.
Council chiefs said the focus would now be on 13 to 19-year-olds and both high-density and deprived areas.
But critics have slammed the ‘secrecy’ behind a decision to withdraw from six youth centres and two information centres in East Lancashire, amid the loss of 67 senior youth worker and two management posts countywide.
Hours will be reduced at 11 further locations as part of the programme.
West Craven borough councillor David Whipp said: “These decisions were taken days after the local elections, instead of beforehand.
"So much for open government and transparency. It’s a cynical manipulation of the system.”
Coun Misfar Hassan, Burnley Central East member, added: “Such measures could cause an escalation in anti-social behaviour in already deprived communities.”
Youth centres at Earby, Barrowford, Burnley Boys’ Club, and other bases in Gannow and Belmont, and Crawshawbooth and Whitewell Bottom in Rossendale, will close unless other funding can be found.
Planned reductions in sessions have been announced for Oswaldtwistle, Clayton-le-Moors, Huncoat, Colne, Barnoldswick, Brierfield, Padiham, Brunshaw, in Burnley, Haslingden, and Whitworth.
The opening hours for remaining info centres in Accrington, Burnley, and Bacup, will also be reduced as part of the plans.
Leader Coun Geoff Driver said: “I am confident the changes will lead to a leaner, fitter service that is better able to respond to the needs and expectations of young people in the county.”
The main base for East Lancashire will be at Accrington’s New Era Centre, with a satellite centre at the new Bradley Youth Hub, in Nelson.