Droitwich loses vital youth service

First published in News

DROITWICH Spa has lost another vital youth facility.

Spa Youth Zone has stopped running sessions at the Royal British Legion club, Salwarpe Road, due to a change of ownership at the venue.

The youth service moved to the Royal British Legion club in April from its previous home in High Street. The move was made after the popular town centre site became financially unviable.

At the time of the move the council was not aware the British Legion branch was also in financial difficulty.

The British Legion’s money troubles led to the branch giving up the financial burden of its club facility in September.

Instead the keys were handed over to Cannon Royal Brewery so the building could be opened as a public house.

It means the site can no longer accommodate a youth facility because it is being run as a pub rather than a charitable organisation.

Rob Mace, Youth Zone co-ordinator for Wychavon District Council, said “It’s a real shame that the zone will be forced to stop its sessions following the demise of the legion. We really wish they had been up front with us regarding their financial standing, so that we could have taken this into consideration before we decided to move.”

The decision to shut Spa Youth Zone follows news in August of the planned closure of Droitwich Youth House, Old Coach Road, by Worcestershire County Council.

However, it is now hoped that a new organisation can help bridge the gap in youth services in the town.

Provision for young people will continue though a newly formed collective called DAFFY (Droitwich Action For Future Youth). DAFFY has started a youth group at the Heritage Centre on Mondays and Thursdays and hopes to also start arts sessions on Saturdays.

Mr Mace added: “It was always the intention that Wychavon would kick off Spa Youth Zone, with the long term aim of the community or third sector taking it on. With the voluntary section set to provide this service, it seems senseless for us to offer a rival facility in the town when we’re certain they will do a good job. With the youth zone sessions ending, we’ll be stepping up our work in the town with the youth bus.”

Wychavon Youth Bus has steadily expanded its provision over the last three years and will be regularly visiting the town.

Equipment bought for Spa Youth Zone will be passed on to the Wychavon Youth Bus.

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