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Youth project funds slashed

PUBLISHED: 18:43 09 July 2008 | UPDATED: 13:18 24 August 2010

by Alex Wellman Miserly council chiefs are asking people in a deprived area to dig deep in their pockets to pay for a youth programme which helps youngsters learn skills and keep off the streets. Residents in Kilburn were shocked after th

by Alex Wellman

Miserly council chiefs are asking people in a deprived area to dig deep in their pockets to pay for a youth programme which helps youngsters learn skills and keep off the streets.

Residents in Kilburn were shocked after they were told they would have to fork out £150 to pay for the Youth Bus to come into the area despite having had it come into the area six times already this year.

The bus, funded by Brent Youth Service, gives youngsters access to computers, art materials and youth workers.

Al Forsyth, BRAT (Brondesbury Residents And Tenants association) said: "I wonder who they think is going to pay the £150 a session. I thought this sort of service was covered by our council tax.

"They are willing to spend millions changing the name but not £150 on the young in Kilburn. That is a very distorted set of priorities."

Atiya Munir, Dunster Gardens, said: "What we have been working on is a permanent outreach worker in our area because if they are there for just a couple of weeks no one can get to it.

"In our area for the last few years we have had young people playing football into the early hours, there is nothing for them to do.

"I know there has been a lot of work done in South Kilburn but that is too far to go."

Cllr Mary Arnold, Kilburn ward, called on the council to waive the fee as a gesture of goodwill to residents in the area and show they are willing to splash cash in the south of the borough.

Cllr Arnold said: "Providing the Youth Bus for free would show the council's commitment to the serious task of looking after young people.

"It would really make a difference and would start to address territorial issues that we run into across north and south Kilburn."

Council chiefs pledged to look for extra money for activities in North Kilburn but said the £150 charge would stay.

A Brent Council spokesman said: "The charge is to pay for running costs, a driver, three or four agency youth workers, arts or IT tutors, who provide cover on the day.

"Although the youth bus is very popular it is also expensive to run."

alex.wellman@archant.co.uk


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