Five youth and play centres in Liverpool are set to remain open after the city council reached agreement with organisations willing to take them over.
The city council needs to save £156 million over the next three years due to cuts in Central Government funding, and the youth and play service is facing a 50 percent reduction in its budget.
A report to the Cabinet on Friday 1 August is recommending that:
• Mab Lane Youth and Play Centre is taken over by Merseyside Society for Deaf People, who will locate their youth and play provision at the site
• Knotty Ash Youth and Community Centre becomes the northern regional office for the Duke of Edinburgh Awards and will be an open centre for young people who want to complete the award
• Childwall Youth Centre will be taken over by Childwall Valley Estate Management Board, who intend to continue to operate youth and community activities
• ZAP Play Centre will be transferred to Daisy Inclusive UK – who support young people and adults to participate in sport, arts, educational and community activities
• Epsom Street Play Centre will be operated by Nugent Care. It will retain play and youth services as well as becoming a community volunteer centre to train local young people
No expressions of interest were received for Walton Adventure Playground and Centre, and this building will be retained until an alternative use can be identified.
Councillor Steve Munby, Cabinet member with responsibility for the youth service, said: “These are tough and challenging times for the council but we are determined to do what we can to find alternative ways of keeping services going.
“I am pleased that we have been able to attract the interest of a number of well-respected organisations in taking over five of the buildings.
“They have come up with some exciting proposals which will secure the future of the centres and will see additional investment.
“We don’t have any control over the money available to use from the government for spending on services. The challenge for us, partners and the local community is to find a way to deliver services better and more cheaply.
“This is a great example of how working with the voluntary sector, and by transferring assets to them, we can protect essential services and also help their work.”