An exciting new era of youth activities is starting in Surrey: Surrey County Council is working in partnership with local organisations to bring its youth centres back to life. Management of 12 youth centres has now been handed over to the voluntary, community and faith sector, with a further 10 centres due to be transferred in the coming months.
With many of Surrey’s youth centres previously in use for only a few hours a week, the council wanted to increase the availability of these centres for community activities, with the prime focus being increasing opportunities for young people.
The council is now working in partnership with 8 organisations across the county who will take on the leasehold of 22 youth centres. Of these 22 youth centres, 12 have already been transferred over to the sector and delivery will begin in April 2021, in-line with Covid-19 guidance. The remainder will follow in the coming months.
Mary Lewis, Surrey County Council Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Families, said: “We knew our existing youth centres were not being used fully, so I’m delighted that so many more will now be open to their local community.
“Youth centres are such a valued community asset that provide invaluable benefits to young people. I’m so grateful to our expert partners in the voluntary, community and faith sector for bringing these buildings alive again.
“These newly leased youth centres can play a vital role in achieving the Community Vision for 2030, which has community participation as one of its key priorities.”
Two of the organisations involved are YMCA East Surrey and Ashford Youth and Community CIC. YMCA East Surrey are taking on the lease of the Phoenix and Horley Youth Centres, whilst Ashford Youth and Community CIC are taking on Ashford Youth Centre.
Stuart Kingsley, Family Services and Youth Work Manager, Deputy Head of Children and Young People at YMCA East Surrey said: “Having the opportunity to take on the leases at the Phoenix and Horley Youth Centres will allow YMCA East Surrey to work with partners to offer a busy programme including universal youth work along with targeted support programmes for young people.
“YMCA East Surrey want to offer support so we can listen and respond to local need.”
Nick Charalambous, Chair of the Management Committee at the Ashford Youth and Community CIC said: “We are really excited about the youth project. We believe it will increase and improve local youth provision.
“In addition, it will bring the centre closer to its community with increased awareness and use. We already have seen the benefits of increased community involvement.”