Call for more spending on youth centres instead of other ‘waste of space’ projects

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Money is better spent on young people than “stupid” council projects, according to tenants.

The comments came at a meeting of council tenants and leaseholders from the east of the city at a Brighton and Hove City Council housing panel after a group of teenagers told the adults how they benefit from a youth club.

Four girls from Woodingdean Youth Club told the tenants reps how they can talk to youth workers about life as well as learning to cook.

The tenants were being asked to support spending an extra £125,000 from the council’s Housing Revenue Account (HRA) to pay for six months of youth services until October next year.

Woodingdean Tenants and Residents Association representative Janet Gearing was particularly keen to see a new youth centre in Whitehawk similar to the service in her own area.

She said: “These kids needs this money because it gets them off the streets. If they’re involved with drugs you can try and sort them out.

“If they’re having problems at home, they can get a relationship with someone they can tell.

“I would rather see my rent money going to the youth centres and helping these kids than to the other projects the council want to set up and sometimes they’re just a waste of space.

“I want my money going to the youth centre more than stupid other things.”

Manor Farm Tenants and Residents Association representative Lyn Bennet was concerned about young people from Whitehawk needing more support.

She raised the issue of what she called the “old system” of Whitehawk not mixing which she described as a segregation between north and south.

Mrs Bennet said: “These are the future and if we can’t get them straight now then god help the rest of us.

“Who’s going to be there to do the jobs. They’re going to be building the world we’re living in when we’re older.

“The world is different to when we were their age.”

A Tuesday Youth Cafe at the Whitehawk Inn is in place as well as detached youth work in the area.

Caroline Vitta, a development worker with young people at the Trust for Developing Communities, said that the team was targeting young people who may be involved with anti-social behaviour and “county line” drug dealing.

She said: “No one is really working with this group and we have located them and are building relationships.

“Some of the older young people know me. It takes time to build trust but we are targeting a particular group.

“If we can get them involved with positive activities, such as the youth employability service, it shows the there’s a different way to be from what they’re doing.

“That has a massive impact but it takes time.”

She said that there was a need for somewhere for young people to hang out in Whitehawk and some support to start youth work on the Bristol Estate.

In East Brighton 329 young people took advantage of youth services funded with Housing Revenue Account cash, which exceeded the target of 280.

More than half lived in council properties.

Conservative councillor Dee Simson said: “While the numbers may not be as high in this area, the return of young people, the fact that they are regular, seemed to be much higher than other areas of the city. It’s really good.

“It reinforces what the young people are saying, they have confidence in what is being provided for them, so they return time and time again.”

Council tenants and leaseholders are being asked to approve spending at four housing panels across the city.

The spending has already been approved by the council’s Housing and New Homes Committee.