March 1 2015 Latest news:
West Suffolk chief reporter
Thursday, April 3, 2014
A district authority has defended a decision to withdraw its support for a youth project which closed down last month less then two years after opening.
The Hub, in Sudbury, was initially run from the town’s sports centre but after six months of negotiations and fundraising, it was moved to Belle Vue House in June 2012.
The focus changed from sporting activities to providing a place for local teenagers to relax, play games and listen to music.
Babergh District Council paid the set-up costs for the project and provided initial support with the idea that volunteers would eventually take over.
Many of those who helped establish The Hub, including Sudbury town councillor John Sayers, expressed their disappointment at the news that Babergh had pulled the plug on the project, describing the decision as “regrettable”.
But Stephanie Lloyd, the Babergh and Mid Suffolk community development officer behind the initial Hub idea, said the number of youngsters using the project had dwindled to the point where it was no longer viable.
She said: “In the early days, I put many hours into the project and it worked well.
“But with the change in my role and the restructure at Babergh and Mid Suffolk, I was never going to be able to carry on running it. It initially appeared to serve a need and the kids flowed in, but by the end, the demand wasn’t there and you can only go on the evidence.
“To justify the costs of running something like this, you have to have the numbers of kids wanting it. I simply don’t believe there’s nothing for young people to do in Sudbury – I think there’s plenty going on.
“There has been an inevitable change in what young people want to do and we have to face the fact that youth clubs as we knew them may no longer be relevant. The Hub really needed to evolve and change to survive.”
The decision to move the Hub from the sports centre was made because of rising hire costs. Youth workers tried to broaden the project’s appeal by taking it out into local communities via a converted bus.