Devon sleep-in protest at youth cuts

The Yard The Yard in Braunton is among a number of youth centres which could be outsourced by the council

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About 20 young people spent the night in their sleeping bags at a Devon youth centre in protest at proposed cuts.

The youngsters from Okehampton and Tavistock staged the "sleep-in" demo at Okehampton Youth Centre.

Devon County Council plans to cut £1.7m from the youth service which will mean 60 out of a total of 114 youth service jobs will go.

The council said it was "looking for people to come forward with fresh ideas for services they could provide".

'Deep anger'

The union Unite, which organised the protest, warned that youth services would become "a postcode lottery" if the cuts went ahead.

Unite regional community co-ordinator Brett Sparkes said: "We hope this protest will help galvanise demonstrations and attendance at public consultation meetings this month on the county council's plans.

"There is deep anger at the nature of these cuts to the youth service."

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

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

The council said in a statement: 'We are in consultation until the 27 April, and no decisions have been made.

"We are continuing to invite people to come forward with fresh ideas for services they could provide, possibly using our premises, for which some limited support from the county council may be available."

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