Royston youth facilities under the microscope

FACILITIES for teenagers in Royston will be discussed by the district council tonight (Thursday) following a fact finding mission to the town.

North Herts District Council commissioned an independent study of provision for youngsters and found that although overall it is good, there is room for improvement.

Councillor Judi Billing, who took part in the independent survey, said: “I think Royston is the same as the rest of the district.

“If you’re a young person who is especially following a sport or want to take part in a certain activity everything’s brilliant.

“Whereas for people who don’t know what they want to do it’s not as good.

“I would like to see an effort to provide spaces for young people to hang out with their friends where they feel comfortable, apart from pubs.”

The investigation was launched after the authority consulted residents across North Herts who were concerned about the provision for teenagers.

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At a post-visit meeting the councillors who visited the town came to the conclusion that Youth Connexions was not highly thought of, and clubs that did not receive government funding were more successful than those that did.

However, the two Baldock ward councillors, Cllrs Michael Weeks and Marilyn Kirkland, who conducted the survey, thought there were problems with duplication, and that clubs failed to share equipment.

The hands-off policy of police officers was also praised, as was the relationship they had built up with local youngsters.

Their findings will be discussed by the overview and scrutiny committee, and the results of that meeting will be passed on to cabinet.

Cllr Tricia Cowley, NHDC’s portfolio holder for community engagement said: “The group found that there is a wide range of facilities in North Herts for younger people, and that certainly includes Royston. The BMX park, boxing club and skate park are all well-used, and there is also the Meridian Centre Youth Club and House Drop-In Centre. It did find that there were some areas for improvement, including ways that existing facilities could be maintained and enhanced by partner agencies.”