Liberal Democrat councillors in Redcar and Cleveland have today expressed their shock and dismay at the services on offer at the Tuned In! site.
Otherwise known as myplace, the project was funded by the Big Lottery and the Government to give teenagers in our area the space and opportunity to access a variety of services.
The aim was to ensure that young people were right at the very heart of this venue, involving them in the planning and delivery of services by young people, for young people.
After hearing several horror stories from groups and organisations who have tried to engage with Tuned In! Lib Dem councillors have spent some time scrutinising the Council’s running of the service. They found that only 1 hour of the weekly events schedule was designed specifically for the target age group of 13-19 year olds, with the majority of provision being for very young children and adults. Unlike the most successful myplace ventures across the country, there is no formalised young-person involvement in running the Redcar and Cleveland centre.
Children from disadvantaged backgrounds also miss out on opportunities, with only the “Homework Club” provided free of charge.
Josh Mason, shadow cabinet member for culture and tourism said:
“This Council has been provided with an excellent venue for the young people of Redcar and Cleveland to come to and feel at home. It should be a space where they can showcase their talents and feel welcome. However, they are completely failing to capitalise on the opportunity – as usual, working towards nebulous targets and running a frosty, unwelcoming service.
“The schedule of events clusters around young people under 12 and adults. I’m sure that whilst Zumba is great, this venue was not built to house adult fitness classes. Even the cafe closes at 4pm, preventing young people from making use of even this service which is only on offer when they’re at school.
“Instead of this space being used for its rightful purpose, it is providing yet more office space for council staff, council staff meeting rooms and adult activities. It’s scandalous that 14-19 year olds are being given short shrift in a venue designed for them.
“The cost of classes and activities for young people is highly prohibitive – providing no free activities means that those who are most in need get left out in the cold.
“It is time this council acted to deliver the youth services that this town deserves. If they are not capable of running the venue themselves then they should get someone else in who can and not continue to actively drive them away.”
Councillor Mason will be questioning the Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, Cllr Joan Guy, about the proportion of activities for teenagers at this Thursday’s meeting of the Borough Council.