North Devon teenagers in cuts protest

Joseph Bulmer

Young people will march in Ilfracombe on April 2 to protest at proposed council cuts to local youth services

YOUNG people from across North Devon will be taking to the streets of Ilfracombe on Saturday, April 2 to protest against proposals to slash �1 million from the region’s youth services.

They are calling for as many people as possible to join them in a peaceful march from the swimming pool, starting at 11am and making its way along the High Street to the Real McCaf at the seafront.

The popular youth drop in caf� is one of the services they fear will close as county Council tightens its belt by making cuts to Devon Youth Service.

It is also feared the Carewise service, which provides respite and support for young carers, could face funding restrictions.

The march is being organised by young volunteers including Christi Kelly, Georgina Bridges, Paige Fortune, Louise McCluskey and Jess Runyard, who say they want to preserve much needed youth facilities not only in Ilfracombe, but across North Devon.

Seventeen-year-old Jess said they feared the cuts would destroy the services used by so many young people.

“We are trying to raise awareness to show the county, Government and everyone how much the service is a big part of our community,” she said.

“When I was younger they helped me get through a really hard time in my life, when things could have easily gone downhill.

“Small towns are getting the worst of it and at the moment due to the amount of cuts there’s a big chance the caf� could close and most of the youth service in Devon will be heavily affected.”

The campaigners have formed a Facebook group called Help Save Devon Youth Service and have called on as many people as possible to joint them online and on the march at 11am on Saturday, April 2.

A county spokesman said only one centre, in Exeter, was proposed for closure and its priority was to protect frontline services. They said it was hoped proposed cuts would mitigate against reductions next year.

A decision is expected later this month or early April.