‘Vital’ youth club funds set to be cut

The future of Topsham Youth Club is in severe jeopardy, with Devon Youth Services expected to withdraw its funding.

The club, which runs activities for 10 to 17 year olds, was told verbally about the decision several weeks ago.

Although written confirmation has not yet been received, and the club’s committee has pleaded with DYS to save it, they are preparing for the worst.

If funding was withdrawn, the committee would have to find new volunteer help from the community or seek alternative funding, both of which could prove problematic.

The youth club has been running for more than 70 years, since Dorothy Holman set it up in her loft, and the committee is now desperately trying to ensure that it does not come to an end.

Committee secretary Sue Wright said: “The management committee is very concerned about the future of the club, with the proposed withdrawal of funding by Devon Youth Services. “We went to a meeting and it was just mentioned in passing, which was a bit of a shock, and,while we’re still awaiting written confirmation, it’s highly likely we’ll have to find our own funding, which takes time to organise.

“We’re a committed bunch of people who will do absolutely everything we can to keep it open, but it will take a lot of time and energy.”

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Despite Devon Youth Service’s expected withdrawal, Sue still insists that the club provides a vital service to the town.

“Total closure of the youth club would be an absolute disaster – I think there’s a suggestion Topsham’s a wealthy area and the kids don’t need it, but there are pockets of deprivation everywhere.

“About 20 to 25 young people attend every week and what would happen to them? There’s a real need.”

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