Youth club closures could be "horribly damaging to the community"


Jon Wilson and Josh Lloyd  outside Cathays Community Centre.
Jon Wilson and Josh Lloyd outside Cathays Community Centre.

Cathays & Central Youth and Community Project is just one of many youth provisions which could suffer from reduced funding as part of Cardiff Council’s £50 million budget cuts.
Cathays Community Centre currently runs four three-hour sessions a week. If the budget proposals for youth provision go ahead, the centre will open just one day a week, only for disabled members.
Ed Townend, 22, Cardiff, was part of the Cathays community project, in his late youth, after a friend recommended he come along. He soon became involved with the centre’s music project and became one of the founders of the centre’s annual music festival, Under Construction. He said: “The youth clubs are excellent centres and I don’t see the point in closing such good hubs.”
Dylan James in Cafe Embassy at Cathays Community Centre.
Dylan James in Cafe Embassy at Cathays Community Centre.

During school, Mr Townend went to Radyr Youth Club. “It was somewhere to go that wasn’t school, like an escape. Whether they’re from a privileged background or not, all young people need youth clubs,” he said.

“The council should have a more in-depth look at the opinions of local people. It’s just going to be horribly damaging to the community.”

Dylan James, 14, youth representative on the Cathays Youth Club management board, is helping lead the fight to save youth provision in Cardiff. He said: “This centre is very open and you’re welcome to come whenever you want, not just during the centre’s official opening times.

“We’ve posted a petition online on our Facebook page and we’re asking people to contact councillors and describe to them any ways the centres have helped them.”

The Cathays centre is seen as one of the main hubs within the Cardiff community. It draws its membership from across the city, including areas with youth clubs saved from possible closure. Cathays High School which in turn draws a high proportion of its pupils from other areas across the city, holds strong links with the centre.
With £1 million in cuts to youth provisions expected to take place across the city, some areas are likely to be affected more than others. While youth services in areas of the city such as Whitchurch and Llanishen are set to be shut those in less affluent wards like Ely are going to be safeguarded.
Cathays youth club_3
This is something which has pleased Ely councilor Susan Goddard, who said: “While it is disappointing some services will be downscaled this is the nature of the budget and we simply have to get on with it.”

“There may be staff reductions in North Ely youth centre and on a personal level I am gutted, but the important thing is the service will still be there. This is vital for places such as Ely and Fairwater where we need to provide a service for young people.”

Consultation for the proposals ends February 13 and the final decision will be made on February 27.