Labour Councillors have started a petition against any future proposal to re-locate the Finchley Youth Theatre currently based in East Finchley, and the Greentops Youth Activity Centre currently based in Colindale, following publication of a Council consultation on the issue.
Councillors feel that re-location of the services will take them out of the communities they have served for many years, and will eventually result in complete closure of the centres.
The consultation entitled “Early Help Services for families” was launched on 1 February and sets out a number of proposals changing the way family support services, children’s centres and youth centres are delivered.
One of the options for Greentops and the Finchley Youth Theatre includes exploring the use of other buildings to host their youth activities. Proposal 3 is to reduce costs and/or increase charges or find alternative means for delivering non-statutory services. The consultation document states that:
"The buildings are costly for us to run and we need to look at ways to maximise income. This may be achieved through increasing paid use of the buildings by other organisations or by another organisation being the primary occupant. If this is not possible, we will explore use of alternative venues to host activities currently taking place within these buildings. We would like your views on both options:
"Option 1: recover costs of centres through paid use by other organisations.
“If we are not able to do this we would like your view on our alternative option: Option 2: explore use of other buildings to host youth activities."
Colindale Councillor, Zakia Zubairi said:
“Consultations like this are the thin end of the wedge. First they propose changing the service in some way, and then eventually the service gets the chop. We don’t want this to happen to Greentops.
“We have no problem with other organisations helping by renting the building and co-locating services there – we just don’t want Greentops to be uprooted from the local community it serves.”
East Finchley Councillor, Arjun Mittra said:
"It is appalling that the Council would even consider closing the much-loved Finchley Youth Theatre. The services it provides are vital for young people across Barnet and its loss would be catastrophic for the community. There are no other facilities owned by the Council that would support the activity that goes on there, so in reality they would be lost.
"This is another disgraceful attack on our arts and culture provision by our philistine Conservatives, who don't understand the value of these types of services and the benefits it brings to the users. I know children with special needs who have benefited immensely from their time at FYT, and the confidence it has given them in their lives."
The petition reads:
'Barnet Council are currently considering whether to generate revenue through renting space at Greentops Youth Activity Centre and Finchley Youth Theatre to other organisations.
If this is not possible, they will "explore use of other buildings to host youth activities."
This would mean re-location of and possibly closure of the historic and much loved Finchley Youth Theatre, and the Greentops Activity Centre.
We the undersigned call upon Barnet Council to drop any proposal or consideration to re-locate or close these facilities which are a vital part of our communities and well loved community assets.'
The consultation closes on 27th March 2018. Responses can be sent to:
firstname.lastname@example.org Alternatively, you can write to Early Help Services Consultation, Strategy and Insight Team, Family Services, 2nd floor, Building 2, North London Business Park, Oakleigh Road South, London, N11 1GN
- A copy of the consultation document can be found here: https://engage.barnet.gov.uk/Early-Help-Services-Consultation
- You can sign the petition here: http://www.barnetlabour.org.uk/save_greentops_finchley_youth_theatre
For more information contact:
Cllr Arjun Mittra: email@example.com
To contact the Barnet Labour Group: 020 8359 2568