Can the churches save youth clubs?

The Bishop of Lichfield has called on churches to fill the gap left by potential youth club closures. His comments came after Staffordshire County Council agreed funding cuts which could threaten more than 30 youth clubs, including Stone’s Youth and Community Centre.

The council says that as only one in five young people had used its facilities, they are proposing to target its support at the youngsters who need it most.
Addressing members of the Lichfield Diocese in March, the Right Reverend Jonathan Gledhill told church leaders, it would be “wonderful” if churches “could explore meeting youth and children’s needs”.

Last month, Neill Harvey-Smith, spokesman for the Diocese of Lichfield told the Gazette:

“The Bishop of Lichfield has noted with regret the cuts in local council-funded youth services. Churches are already active in providing youth clubs, and Christ Church in Stone is a good example. He is calling on churches to look again at what more can be done so all our young people have places to go, to learn and to grow.”

But some years back, when Christ Church opened its short-lived ‘Rock’ youth club to all comers, it proved so popular that youngsters were spilling out of Christ Church Centre onto its neighbouring graveyard.  This led to the discipline problems which caused the ‘Rock’ to close down.

Haven’t we been here before?