Disgust over changes to youth service
FEARS the youth service in Cullompton could be downgraded have been compounded by a lack of opportunity for the town to share its views on proposed changes.
This is the view of town councillors in Cullompton who vowed to write to Devon County Council to express their "disgust" at not being adequately notified about a so-called 'engagement event' about proposed changes to the service.
There are fears the John Tallack Centre in Meadow Lane could be affected by the changes but Cullompton town councillors say nobody has had a chance to hear about what the changes might mean because of a flawed consultation strategy.
Devon County Council announced in August a major review of its youth service which is intended to make sure that youth services are properly focused on those in greatest need and deliver the best possible value for money.
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Cllr Jane Campbell said the staff who worked from the centre provided an "invaluable service". She added: "Without their input and the opportunity to use that facility there is nothing in the town for young people and we would be deeply dissatisfied if even the hours were cut."
Deputy mayor Cllr Rachel Sinclair said the parish authority should write to Devon County Council to express its "blatant disgust" at the process of the consultation.
It was agreed that the council should also express its support for the current work of the youth service at the John Tallack Centre.
County Hall sent a letter to the town council, dated September 18, which gave details and the date of a series of consultation events; the only one of which in Mid Devon was due to take place in Tiverton on the following day.
By the time the council were able to discuss the matter at a full council meeting last Thursday (September 26), four other engagement events in Exeter, Okehampton, Dawlish and Bideford had all taken place.
Cllr Linda Holloway, who sits on Mid Devon District Council, said that authority was also dissatisfied with the county's consultation attempts. She said: "Local people have not had a chance to know about this event taking place."
Cllr Holloway said a complaint had been made about the process, but she understood there were unlikely to be any further consultation events before a paper on the youth service review is delivered to the council cabinet this autumn.
The council has set up a dedicated website about the youth service review which describes the events being arranged for staff, young people, voluntary organisations and communities. Proposals for the future of the service are expected later in the autumn, but indications are that it could signal a move towards more outreach and less youth centre-based projects.
Town clerk Nina Ashley said it would be a "crying shame" if the service was to be lost or diminished.