Braunton's The Yard youth club closure warning issued

The Yard The Yard has been helping Braunton youngsters since 1966

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Concerns a village youth club might have to shut have prompted a warning of a rise in anti-social behaviour.

The Yard in Braunton is among 34 Devon County Council youth clubs that could be outsourced to community and voluntary groups to save £1.7m.

As a result Jasmine Chesters, who helped found club in 1966, fears people would not have enough time to run it.

The local authority said it wanted to focus spending on targeted support for vulnerable youngsters instead.

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I find it incredible that this is the way Devon County Council are going”

End Quote Jasmine Chesters

Conservative district councillor Ms Chesters, helped create The Yard from a building next to the railway sidings in the north Devon village.

About 45 youngsters attend the youth club in Caen car park, which like other council-run clubs has a youth worker on hand for advice on issues such as pregnancy and drugs.

'Harness expertise'

Ms Chesters said: "I know money is tight and we have all got to cut our cloth but to take away a thriving youth club, I find it incredible that this is the way Devon County Council are going.

"This has helped the youngsters come together and it has eased the anti-social behaviour that we had in the village.

"I think it is imperative that we keep the youth club open."

Conservative-controlled Devon County Council, which has a budget of more than £500m, is aiming to save 110m by 2017.

The £1.7m cut to the youth service will mean 60 out of a total of 114 youth service jobs will go.

The county council, which has launched a consultation on the changes, said: "It is clear that the Devon Youth Service is just one element of a tapestry of excellent clubs and services around the county that are already provided by numerous community and voluntary groups.

"The council would like to harness that capacity and expertise to help develop a sustainable model for the future."

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