Public Meeting for Proposed Youth Cafe

A public meeting was held on Thursday 5th December at the Syston Community Centre.

Members of the public had been invited to meet the joint agency team members, who along with Syston town Council are trying to find an appropriate location to use for the young people of Syston.

The Sports Pavilion on Memorial Playing fields had been identified as such a venue, however, the residents who live adjacent to the playing fields objected strongly. There had already been one public consultation, but the IMPACT team and other agencies agreed to another one as some members of the joint agency team had been unable to attend the previous meeting.

It began with members of the Joint Agency team introducing themselves and explaining how they work together to help young people in communities. They brought an example of how Birstall have developed a youth cafe and its benefits to the local area. They also showed a slide with several venues in Syston which they had looked into but discarded for a variety of reasons, some due to cost of repair, some not available at the times required. They showed how the anti-social Behaviour had reduced via a DVD of Harby Youth Cafe, and quoted figures for  Birstall, then showed anti-social behaviour figures for Syston, although they were six months ago – no current figures were available.
The members of the public present were not impressed by the responses given by the panel members present. One member asked why they didn’t step in four years ago when the Syston Youth Project had to close due to the loss of funding, this gained a round of applause from the public, but a less than adequate reply of ‘we don’t know!’.

After much debate, the general theme were requests for reassurance that something would be found for the young people of Syston, but not at the proposed venue. The reasons given by the residents listed as follows: a lack of effective lighting, no CCTV cameras, concerns of increased problems when young people leave the venue on Memorial park.

It was noted that no one from the Sports teams that use the facility were present, so if they had any concerns they would not be heard.

The meeting concluded with no definitive outcome, but the agency team agreed to continue to look for a more suitable venue and to keep the public informed as to the progress. Since the meeting the only progress to report is that the ‘Street Vibes’ Mobile youth cafe will continue to visit Syston weekly, although they are looking for a new parking area. The money available to set up a youth cafe has been extended and it is hoped that an appropriate venue can be found.

If you would like to offer a venue or have a view on this issue, then please write or email Stn at our usual address and we will pass your comments on.