Tuesday, 10 January 2012

A Promise Kept

Good news for young people came Monday evening as the new Hedge End, West End and Botley Youth Partnership became a reality.

Nearly fifty local people filled the small hall at the Hedge End 2000 Centre as the meeting, chaired by Town Councillor, Borough Councillor and County Councillor Rupert Kyrle, approved a constitution establishing a committee of trustees to keep youth services - including The Box in Wildern Lane - running across the three parishes in the face of swingeing cuts imposed by the Conservative County Council.

As Rupert said in his opening remarks, a promise had been made to the HEWEB Youth Council that The Box would be kept open, and Monday's meeting was a major milestone towards the keeping of that promise.   It is still not clear if the County will impose any conditions on the transfer of the building itself and other assets to the partnership, but people were optimistic that agreement would be forthcoming.

 The first committee will consist of some local councillors (including Hedge End Town Councillors Dan Clarke and Jenny Hughes in addition to Rupert) and representatives from the Scouts, the Teenage Drop In Centre, YMCA, Wildern School, local churches, other youth organisations and even one non-aligned member of the public.  Meetings will be held in public at a time which allows young people from the Youth Council and other organisations to attend and give representations.

An emotional presentation by colleagues and young people also marked the departure of three local youth workers from Hampshire County Council.   One of them described the rewards of working with young people:  "They challenge, they question and they don't accept". 

Not a bad motto for all of us in week which saw County Leader Ken Thornber manufacturing a cabinet post for a party crony.

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