New youth service ‘will be more versatile and benefit everyone’

A new community body is to be set up to run youth services in the Steyning and Upper Beeding area.

The move follows the Youth Provision Survey, in which residents voted roughly 11 to 1 in favour of paying extra in the parish precept to fund the service. All four parish councils involved – Steyning, Upper Beeding, Bramber and Ashurst – have now agreed to go ahead.

Steyning chairman David Barling said: “This is probably one of the most important things that the parish council has dealt with.”

He explained at Steyning Parish Council’s meeting on Monday what the funding, which is guaranteed for three years, will mean.

A meeting will be held to decide on the constitution for the new community body and it is hoped other organisations will become involved.

“This is not a parish council project, it is a community project,” said Mr Barling.

The new body will replace the current youth committee, which will be wound up.

Volunteers, along with a new chairperson, secretary and treasurer, will be sought.

Sue Rodgers added: “It won’t be a term-time only youth club, it will stretch into the holidays, a time when people have very little to do. It will do a lot for our community safety and have benefits right across the community.”

Paul Devlin said he hoped they would be able to reintroduce the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme.

“This facility will be something better than what exists at the moment,” he said. “We hope it will be much more versatile.”

Months of planning have gone into the project, with the aim to get funding in place for when West Sussex County Council withdraws its support at the end of April. “We wanted a scheme which could not only save these services but could enhance them,” explained Mr Barling.