A place for young people in Ashton-on-Ribble is under threat of closure due to fresh county council cutbacks.Advertisement
Ashton Young People’s Centre, known locally at the Star Centre, is one of a number of buildings Lancashire County Council wants to close.
In January this year the county council’s cabinet said it wants to save £1.2million by changes to the children and family wellbeing service.
It includes a proposal to reduce the number of buildings used by the service from 76 to 57, including the Star Centre in Tulketh Crescent.
In 2014 the county council invested more than £50,000 in refurbishing the centre, which was originally built in 1930.
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Preston South West county councillor Gillian Oliver said: “The Star is one of only two places in Preston where 11-19 year olds with disabilities can get council-run services.
“And it’s a venue that is still used and valued by Ashton people. A food event there through the summer will use up food supermarkets would otherwise throw away, and help families missing school meals over the holidays.
“That 2014 upgrade costing more than £50,000 gave the Star a new lease of life. Closing it wouldn’t just be a waste of public funds – it would frustrate all kinds of good neighbourly enterprise. The Star should stay.”
Executive director of adult services, health and wellbeing Louise Taylor said: We remain committed to providing the best services we can to the people of Lancashire, particularly to the people in our communities who are in greatest need of our support.
“The children and family wellbeing service is a key part of our plans.
“The way the service works has changed. It’s more about providing support direct to people in their home and using locations within the community.
“With this approach, we’re becoming more people focused rather than building based.
“We’ll continue to provide our service in a flexible way depending on the type of support people need and deliver sessions at buildings and locations which best suit the children and families we work with.
“The types of issues our key workers get involved with include working with families to help improve young people’s attendance at school or college, ensuring young people get help to tackle substance misuse, and helping children to be more physically active.
“We’ve carried out research on how the service makes a difference to people and looked at how it can become more effective before putting the proposal together.
“If approved, the proposal would mean we could provide the service from fewer buildings while maintaining the same number of key workers and front-line staff to work with children, young people and families.
“The county council’s financial position remains extremely challenging and we need to look at how we can do things differently. What we do and how we support people will not change and we will continue to find the best ways to bring the service to the children and families we support.
“However, it’s vital that people who use the service and partner organisations are given the opportunity to have their say.
“All views will be considered by the county council’s cabinet before it makes its final decision about the proposals in October this year.”
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The county council’s consultation runs until Friday 3 August and you can give your views via the county council website.
Do you use the Star Centre? Have you ever used it? Let us know in the comments below