Youth centre will remain open
New lease agreement will let it keep all its space too
By: Peter Boer
| Posted: Saturday, Dec 22, 2012 06:00 am
Christmas has come early for the Youth Community Centre with news it will be open on Jan. 1.
The board voted Wednesday night to continue operating the youth centre, ending eight months of uncertainty after council endorsed a recommendation to no longer offer it Family and Community Support Services grant funding. During that time the board repeatedly mused it might have to close the youth centre if it did not find more funding.
“We are going to be open Jan. 1,” said board chair and former youth centre executive director Doug Campbell. “We are alive and well. We are grateful for the money we received from the city.”
By approving the 2013 budget on Monday, council also approved $163,000 in funding to the youth centre. An erroneous headline in Wednesday’s Gazette mistakenly stated it would receive no funding.
The board has also accepted an offer from Amacon, its landlord at Grandin mall, that will not only allow the youth centre to pay less rent but also let it keep using the same amount of space. The board had been looking to reduce its footprint in the mall to cut costs.
“It’s been a very gracious offer. There are terms we can live with,” Campbell said.
The youth centre is now tasked with its own rebirth, which includes promoting the message that it is open to all youth. In Wednesday’s Gazette story, FCSS director Scott Rodda had said one of the reasons the youth centre lost its FCSS grant money was because it targets at-risk youth, meaning its programs no longer embody the principle of primary prevention.
“They are already there,” Campbell said, referring to youth from all backgrounds. “We have an open-door policy.”
“We are probably going to just have to tell the community we don’t just deal with kids who are at risk. We are dealing with kids from all walks of family life. They just hang out because it’s a safe place to hang out.”
The youth centre will also need more grant support from other agencies, clubs and donors to help boost its budget, Campbell said. It has already cut back on staff and some programming to stay open at a reduced cost.
“We will also need more volunteers to serve on our board, our committees and to become trained and work in the youth centre with our youth, Campbell said.