Concerns for youth provision in Bognor Regis as major charity stops trading
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Sussex Clubs for Young People, which operates youth clubs throughout the south coast – including The 39 Club in Bognor Regis and the Felpham After School Club - announced its closure on social media on June 26.
According to the social media posts, the charity’s directors have approached Chichester accountancy firm Kreston Reeves following the closure. A Kreston Reeves spokesperson refused to comment on the reasons for the closure or speak to the future of any of the clubs impacted.
With the future of youth provision still uncertain, parents, carers and volunteers have spoken out about the impact of the closure. Katherine Turner, from Felpham, described the news as ‘absolutely devastating’. Alongside volunteering with Sussex Clubs for Young People, two of her children used their services in Felpham and Bognor Regis. She feels the loss of the clubs – as well as the abrupt manner in which the closure was announced – speaks to a fundamental disregard for young people and the volunteers working with them.
"It was so sudden. There was no notice, no warning, nothing. We just got an email, and there wasn’t even an explanation – it was just ‘we’ve ceased trading’ and that’s it,” she explained. "They’re so big in Bognor, and to lose them is such a loss. But the worst thing is none of us got the chance to say goodbye. There was nothing. No contingency plan or anything like that.”
The news comes less than a year after staff and volunteers at The 39 Club appeared to have secured the facility’s long term future. In November, West Sussex County Council officers transferred use of the club venue on Church Path to staff at Sussex Clubs for Young People on a free 25-year lease. A West Sussex County Council spokesperson said the asset transfer process is being finalised with The 39 Club separate from its relationship with Sussex Clubs for Young People, and so the exact impact of the charity’s closure remains to be seen.