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Youth centre a ‘success story’: Young Melksham scorns claims it’s closing Canberra

CANBERRAis getting stronger by the day, leader Jon Hubbard tells Melksham Independent News as he hits back at rumours that the youth centre is struggling and at risk of closure.

Town councillor and founder of Young Melksham, Jon Hubbard, runs youth clubs every week at the centre and says a growing number of young people are attending.

He was angered by claims in a local newspaper last week that the centre was in danger of closing down.

Jon said, “It is absolutely not true that the Canberra is struggling or at risk. We have over 140 young people signed on to our service and we’re seeing at least 30 turn up each time we open. If anything the club is on the up! We’re employing new staff and growing the service; ours is probably the only success story in the county since Wiltshire Council cut the youth service.

“A youth club in Corsham’s new campus closed recently because nobody turned up – we don’t have that problem. The future looks rosy for Young Melksham and we hope we’ll be at the Canberra for years to come.

“Spreading rumours that it is closing down makes life more difficult for us, especially if people we want to work with, parents, or young people themselves see the stories.”

Young Melksham reopened the Canberra in October last year, a year after it was closed when Wiltshire Council dissolved the youth service.

The youth work charity has a lease on the centre until the end of next year. It is planned that the health and wellbeing centre will have space for youth activities, and the Canberra will be sold off and demolished in the future. However, Jon is sceptical.

“Young Melksham is in ongoing discussions with Wiltshire Council about alternative provision in the future,” he continued.

“The plan was to include space at the campus but it’s not likely to be big enough, nor something that we can dedicate to the young people to do what they want with.

“We agreed a lease expecting to move to the campus in 2017, but there’s not going to be a campus in 2017! We’d like to stay at the Canberra for as long as possible, and are looking at how we can do that.”