Future unclear for village youth clubs after charity reveals it can no longer afford to provide support

Forum, Barton road. Ely.

Forum, Barton road. Ely. - Credit: Archant

Youth clubs in East Cambridgeshire face an uncertain future after a leading charity which organised events and activities for youngsters withdrew its services.

Community Carts provided staff and expertise to manage projects and education for youth clubs in Mepal, Little Downham, Witcham, Witchford, Ely and Witcham.

But owing to a lack of staff, the organisation announced it was carrying out an urgent review and withdrew from providing youth services in the area with immediate effect.

A dedicated set of offices at Witchford Village College were also closed.

In a statement, the charity’s trustees said: “Following changes in staffing and business circumstances a major organisational and financial review is being carried out by the Carts trustees in order to meet the demands of the constitution of Community Carts and the charity commission’s guidelines.

“Until a full decision has been made about the future of the charity, Carts will continue to exist in a reduced capacity to fulfil outstanding commitments which do not rely on paid staff involvement.

“The trustees regret that these actions have become necessary, however it is no longer financially viable to continue with the organisation in its current format and structure.”

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Acting chairman of the organisation, Colin Stevens, said the organisation had been in financial difficulty for some time and had reached a point where it was no longer viable to continue.

Mr Stevens said all options were being considered by trustees as part of a review and that he hoped, in the future, that the services could resume.

He was keen to stress, however, that contrary to rumours, Community Carts was not closing and that youth clubs would continue on regardless.

“Communities will have to take on more responsibility for their youth services,” he added.

Chris Terry, head teacher of Witchford Village College, told parents: “Witchford Village College is no longer hosting Community Carts on the premises. The office has been closed and all materials removed from the site.

“We have really enjoyed working with Community Carts over the years and our pupils have benefitted enormously from their input.”

Sutton Parish Council held an extra-ordinary meeting of full council last week to discuss the future of its youth services.