Labour Action Teams join demonstration to Sefton save youth cent

Patrick McKinley and Kris Brown with young protesters


Labour Action Teams gave their backing to a 'Save Our Youth Centres' demonstration in Maghull Central Square.

Young people from throughout East Sefton set up the demo in the square to call on the council to save the youth centres throughout the borough, including Aintree's centre in Oriel Drive and Maghull's Stafford Moreton.

Labour councillors on Sefton Council are opposing the Liberal Democrat and Conservative proposals to close seven youth centres.

The young campaigners were collecting names on a petition which called on councillors not to "punish the young people" of Sefton.

Protest leader Kim Williams, 23, from Maghull, said thousands of people had signed the petition.

Kim said: "You can see by the number of young people who are campaigning today and you can see by the number of people who have signed our petition, that there is strong opposition to the plans to close the youth centres down.

"Up to now, we've had 1,500 people sign the petition here in Maghull and 7,000 people in total throughout the borough. And that number is growing all the time.

"So what we are asking for is for the council to revisit this and put pressure on them to review their decision before they set their budget on March 3.

"Young people, like those of us who are out campaigning today, want to be consulted on issues which affect us. And we will not simply take this decision lying down."

Patrick McKinley and Kris Brown with youth service campaigner Kim Williams Magull Action Team leader Patrick McKinley, who is also Labour's candidate for Sudell Ward in May's local elections, said he was impressed that so many young people had been mobilised to take action.

Patrick said: "It is great to see so many young people taking part in the demonstration. It sends a clear message to the Liberal Democrats and the Tories that they cannot simply ignore them.

"These youngsters know full well that this is a decision which is being made by the Lib Dems and the Tories on Sefton Council, as do the thousands of people who have signed the petition.

"It's absolutely outrageous that such a well used service is facing the axe.

"I have been contacted by parents and young people who are seriously concerned about the closure.

"The activities these centres provide not only keep the young people off the streets, but they also provide stimulating activities which provide training in key skills which the youngsters use throughout their lives.

"By axing these centres, the long term effects will be even more costly and damaging.

"When you consider that the Tories and Lib Dems have already hit young people and families hard through trebling tuition fees, through axing the Education Maintenance Allowance, the Sure Start Children's Centres, and more, you realise that the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats both locally and nationally are out of touch with ordinary people and don't understand how these cuts are hurting people."

Kim Williams gets petitions in Maghull SquareLabour's candidate for Park Ward, Kris Brown, said: "How many times have we heard people say there is a problem with youths hanging around street corners because there's nothing for them to do and nowhere for them to go?

"Well these centres are fantastic facilities which do keep young people proactively occupied. They give them somewhere to go and and things to do.

"Axing them will result in increased complaints about youngsters hanging around on the streets and the knock-on effects that creates.

"So while there will be increased calls about young people on the streets, the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats are axing as many as 800 frontline police officers in Merseyside, so there will be less officers to deal with complaints.

"Add this together with the longer term impact of young people not benefiting from the skills and experiences they gain at Sefton's Youth Centres and you realise just why they are so important in our communities."

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