Wales

Coronavirus lockdown: Youth groups call for consistency over reopening

tug 'o' war
Image caption Some youth groups say "inconsistency" could lead to them losing members

Youth groups have called for clarity from the Welsh Government over when they can reopen their doors.

Services using private spaces are allowed to resume activities providing the venue is following Covid-19 rules.

However the decision over whether clubs can use community centres has been left to each council to decide.

The Welsh Government said it had worked with youth groups but it was important decisions were taken at a local level.

Some voluntary groups have said that will lead to "inconsistency" and fear they will lose young members.

Image caption Sioned Page Jones says the decisions should not be left to councils

Sioned Page Jones is a dance and singing instructor at both Hafodwenog Urdd youth group and Penybont Young Farmers' Club in Carmarthenshire.

"It's important we emphasise to members and parents that we do intend to reopen, we're just not sure when," she said.

"We usually meet in a community hall so we'll have to wait, which is a shame, and we hope we are not going to lose members because private institutions, such as local performing art schools, can now start.

"The government need to give more guidance to ensure consistency across the whole of Wales.

"It shouldn't be left to the councils to decide what activities are possible [or] prohibited.

"We live close to the Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion border, so we could be hearing completely different rules in a community hall seven miles down the road."

Image caption Cefin Roberts says he hopes performers will soon be able to sing

Ysgol Glanaethwy performing arts school in Bangor has been given the go ahead to reopen, though without singing.

Director Cefin Roberts said: "The guidelines up to now have been difficult to follow but we have to do our homework and we also have to ask questions and, hopefully, soon they'll say you can sing as well."

Young Farmers' Clubs are also in the process of welcoming back members while the Urdd said it was training leaders as they waited for the go-ahead.

Image caption Social-distancing rules makes it difficult for choirs to rehearse

The Welsh Government said it had "worked closely" with the youth sector and young people to increase youth services.

A spokesperson said: "Decisions to expand or reopen services are the responsibility of individual organisations and it is important these decisions are taken on a local basis to allow for variations across Wales."

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