Community & Culture trio note good progress…

The Box, home of Youth Services in Hedge End. Photo Peter Facey

Hedge End’s Community & Culture Committee were delighted this evening, with the progress that has been made to mitigate the effect of budget cuts imposed last year, by Hampshire County Council.

At another poorly attended meeting, which saw committee Chair Cllr Louise Bloom and committee members Cllr Dan Clarke and Cllr Sheila Baines scrape together the three Councillors that are needed to form a quorum, the trio listened intently to a full report from Donna Brewer, the recently appointed Youth Team Leader for the recently formed HEWEB Youth Partnership.

It was an impressive report, Donna’s first to the Town Council, with encouraging news of an increasing number of contacts with young people and services that are well received. Councillors were told of a strengthening team of Youth Workers and volunteers, plans to increase the number of sessions from 3 to 5 per week, plans for a trip to Thorpe Park, plans to enter Hedge End Carnival, smoking cessation advice, careers advice, confidential sexual-health advice and of timely referrals to services provided by TADIC (Teenage Advisory Drop-In Centre) in Hedge End. The services are located at the Box on the Wildern school campus, a facility which is used by the school from 8am until 3:30pm and is subsequently available to the HEWEB Youth Partnership until late in the evening.

Cllr Dan Clarke, a member of the HEWEB Youth Partnership Board said;

“It shouldn’t be underestimated what has been achieved in the last year”

Also delighting the Community & Culture committee this evening, was news of success with the recruitment of volunteers to help keep Hedge End Library open. A meeting at the 2000 Centre in February recruited 25 volunteers and since then another 20 have come forward. Self-service kiosks are to be installed in June, with the refurbished library re-opening on 28th June and plans to increase the opening hours from October.

Pleased with that news, Cllr Dan Clarke said;

“This is a great endorsement of our approach”

But clearly still very disappointed with HCC cuts to front-line services, Cllr Clarke added;

“Judging by reports in the Echo recently, it is amazing how much money can be rustled-up when Ken Thornber’s leadership is under threat…”

Hedge Ends Culture & Community Committee did not take any significant decisions this evening, but Cllr Jane Welsh was also present to report on arrangements for the Diamond Jubilee Street Party in the 2000 Centre car park on Tuesday 5th June.

There are still a few tickets left, which are available from the Town Council Offices, but the event is nearly sold out so be quick…!

When asked if he would be able to help out at the event, Cllr Dan Clarke’s initial response was to relate a story told by Sir David Frost;

“David Frost rang Peter Cook up some years ago, to invite Peter to a dinner party on behalf of Prince Andrew and his new bride-to-be Sarah Ferguson. Peter Cooks reply to that invitation, so the story goes, was ‘Oh dear. I find I’m watching television that evening.’ “

The irony of telling such a story at such a poorly attended meeting did not go unnoticed, with Cllr Bloom quickly moving the meeting on, but Cllr Clarke did subsequently interject to say;

“The Street Party is a community event and I want it to succeed. I’ll talk to Jane later about how I can help on the day.”

The Committee then agreed to invite the Mayor of Eastleigh [Hedge End Town Councillor Rupert Kyrle] and the MP for Eastleigh Chris Huhne, to Hedge End’s Diamond Jubilee Street Party in the car-park on 5th June…

Of the absentee Councillors, little was said other than that Cllr Garton was known to be at a meeting about the Berry Theatre this evening, hopefully raising the issue of disabled parking & drop-off points, a matter which had been raised at the Annual Parish Assembly and discussed at a previous Community & Culture Committee meeting.

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