Ludlow Youth Centre 'closure threat' after 'nonsense' rules imposed

"Nonsense rules" mean a youth club in Shropshire can only be used by one young person – accompanied by two supervisors.

These cousins and siblings were due to return to the youth club this Friday. From left are George Lynch, 10; Josh Lynch, 10; Sophie Lynch, nine; and Holly Lynch, 10
These cousins and siblings were due to return to the youth club this Friday. From left are George Lynch, 10; Josh Lynch, 10; Sophie Lynch, nine; and Holly Lynch, 10

Now councillors and parents smell a rat and fear that Ludlow's dedicated youth centre is being lined up for sale, forcing young people to move out.

Protestors gathered at the centre in Lower Galdeford in a show of support for the future of the youth centre.

They say restrictions imposed by Shropshire Council mean it is impossible to use the building as a youth centre as children aren't allowed in to mix together.

“I’m astounded,” said Councillor Tracey Huffer, who represents Ludlow East.

"I have never seen anything more Byzantine than this in my many years as a district and unitary councillor.”

She added: "Allowing for supervisors that means only one young person can be in the building at any time."

Councillor Huffer claimed that the situation is "nonsense".

She said: “The whole point of a youth club is to have young people mixing."

She says the restrictions have been put in place because there is insufficient air circulation in the foyer of the building.

But she says the foyer has wide double doors and is very well ventilated.

Councillor Huffer adds that Shropshire Council "also says we can’t have more than three people inside the foyer with the wide doors open because they might get cold.

"But children and youth workers can meet outside regardless of the weather."

Councillor Andy Boddington with local adults and children

The offices in the building which were previously used to mentor and train young people also cannot be used because they have small windows that can't be opened.

Councillor Huffer adds: “I have never heard such nonsense. There are no restrictions like this in other buildings. This whole affair is Byzantine."

Opposition councillors in Ludlow also claim that the council's objective is to close the youth centre and use the asset for offices, breaking its decades-long link with young people.

Councillor Huffer said: "Mental health and wellbeing issues among young people have grown during the pandemic.

"But under Shropshire Council’s ventilation rules, Ludlow Young Health will have to move to another location, breaking its association with Ludlow’s centre for young people.

"That’s a problem because young people have seen the youth centre as a focus for activity and advice for decades."

She added: “Other than a limited outreach service, Shropshire Council now puts no money into youth services in Ludlow.

"The youth services we still have are supported by Ludlow Town Council, the mayor’s charity and charitable groups.

“I fear that very soon, the youth centre will be put up for sale as a business unit or housing plot."

She added that the council should be supporting communities "not plugging holes in its budget by selling or letting community assets.”

Shropshire Council has been approached for comment but is yet to make a full statement.

A spokesman had said that it "isn't to do with the provision/future of youth services" but is to do with Covid restrictions.

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