Campaigners delighted as council halts plan to close Castlegate
Plans to close down the 29 Castlegate youth service and relocate its services to City of York Council’s HQ have been put on hold.
Councillors have agreed to halt the closure while other options are considered.
The threat to 29 Castlegate emerged in October. A council paper proposed to shut down the centre and centralise all its young people’s services at the West Offices headquarters.
The official report said this would save money but also lead to “an enhanced and co-ordinated post 16 young people’s service”.
But many young people and youth workers opposed the plan, saying the West Offices HQ was too corporate and would put vulnerable people off.
And any streamlined future service would remove the drop-in, holistic element found at 29 Castlegate. This allowed 16-25 year olds to access help on everything from housing to careers to counselling – and build trust with youth workers.
An online petition received 1,678 signatures forcing the council to review the decision.
After another council committee had called for the closure of 29 Castlegate to be put on hold, Labour Cabinet members approved this recommendation at a meeting on Tuesday (November 25).
Now other options can be considered, including seeking new ways to fund the service and a more suitable place to relocate it.
‘Thousands have been helped’
Good crowd outside @CityofYork Offices tonight to defend #Castlegate #mentalhealth service @YrkPplsAssembly pic.twitter.com/LYLuidIugY
— York NHS (@YorkDefendNHS) November 25, 2014
Good news that #castlegate proposals are to reviewed. Thank you to all who protested, signed petition, wrote to press etc
— Spooky Collingwood (@FireWalkWithMoi) November 25, 2014
Cabinet members say thanks to all those who have commented on the #castlegate petition, comments have really shown value of the service.
— carole pugh (@carolepugh) November 25, 2014
Liberal Democrats had challenged the closure decision by “calling it in”.
Cllr Carol Runciman, Lib Dem spokeswoman for children, education and young people, told the Cabinet meeting on Tuesday: “Thousands of young people have been helped since the centre was opened in 2007 and the work the staff do is rightly recognised and respected across York.
“It is effective early intervention which has turned the lives of young people around by helping them to keep healthy, safe, off drugs, out of the criminal justice system, in suitable accommodation and in work.
“This is why the campaign to keep Castlegate open has received such overwhelming support and why so many people I have spoken to in recent weeks have said they are opposed to the cuts and closure.”
York Young Adult Carers were among those to address the cabinet on the importance of 29 Castlegate. Revised proposals for how to deliver Castlegate’s services in future will come before the Cabinet in February.
The whole project was never about saving money or “improving” the service.
It was about selling the building occupied to Fairfax House to enable that organisation to expand.
If the politburo had been open and honest from the start this debacle could have been avoided.
There is a solution.
Fairfax House can be sold the bricks and mortar which are essential to them.
The Youth Services can relocate to any one of many empty shops or office premises to be found all over the city.
For example; just look at Goodramgate. Empty shops abound. Lots of charity shops with empty space above. High turnover of tenants. One of these old shops would be fine for a drop-in centre.
If this is not considered satisfactory then look at all the empty office accommodation of all types and sizes all over the city. There has to be something better than the Council headquarters.
I really hope that they stay open and infact build a few more reach outs for teenagers around York ……………. Really is sickening when so many youth clubs and advice centres are closing REALLY what is going on ? The next generation are REALLY our next generation – we need to show some support for that ……..teachers are far too over worked to give the 1 2 1 support that certain young people require ………….. a youth leader or advicer is the ideal person for a young person to trust and gain guidance from …………. I cant even believe it was considered that it would close !!!!!!!!!