A revised Wirral Council budget has reduced proposed cuts to Birkenhead’s Hive Youth Centre by £100,000.

The council needs to reduce spending by £16.5m over the next year.

Original plans deliberated early this year wanted to cut funding for the popular youth centre by over £200,000. But last week’s budget meeting approved plans to reduce funding by half that, £100,000.

In a press conference, The Hive’s Chief Executive Stuart Barnes said: “Wirral’s young people need our support now more than ever.

“By working in partnership with the council, The Hive has been able to provide a vital lifeline for young people, providing thousands with engaging and positive activities, alongside targeted projects such as mentoring, school holiday clubs and employability support.”

The Hive Youth Zone is a purpose-built youth community giving the 38,500 children aged 10-19 in Birkenhead a safe space to talk with adults, engage in activities, and stay safe.

Its modern building boasts a roof-top football pitch, a salon, a climbing wall, music suite, art room, boxing gym and sensory room.

Mollie Rose McKee, an apprentice primary school worker who uses the youth centre said: “They have supported me through everything, I wouldn’t be the person I am today without them.

“The Hive has changed many people’s lives, including mine and the budget cut could reduce the number of lives they are able to change.”

A first budget proposal was put forward late last year, it originally had plans to close a number of leisure services in the Wirral.

But revised proposals by Wirral Council’s Policy and Resource committee saved Williamson Art Gallery, Europa Pools and other popular local services.

Council Leader and Labour Councillor Jannette Williamson said: “We will not accept the closure of much-loved services.

“We’ve asked for a wholesale review of leisure services, including golf courses, to keep them very much alive in the Wirral.”

The budget proposal passed in controversial circumstances. With a deadlock 8-8 vote.

Eight Labour councillors voted in favour, up against a bi-partisan coalition of eight Conservative, Lib-Dem and Green councillors who voted against the new proposal.

Independent councillor Moira McLaughlin abstained, giving Labour council leader Jannette Williamson the deciding vote and pushing through Labour’s revised agenda.

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Featured image “Hotels and Pounds” by Images_of_Money is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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