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Last Updated: Saturday, 3 February 2007, 09:23 GMT
Pc quits over youth club age row
A youth club protest banner
Opponents air their protest at the plans to change the rules
A police officer has resigned as the voluntary leader of a youth club in protest at plans to allow people aged up to 25 admission to the group.

Phil Westbury said Ceredigion Council's proposals in Aberystwyth would have a negative impact on young people.

With two colleagues, he worked with 30 to 40 youngsters aged 11-16 at Penparcau Youth Club for six years.

The council said there were plans to run a youth group for those aged up to 25, but on different evenings.

This is a recipe for disaster
Phil Westbury

But Mr Westbury, who worked with the young people when he was off duty, said he understood that the adults would attend the youth club on the same nights.

The council said it regretted his decision to resign as leader, but it had a legal responsibility to work with and for 11-25-year-olds.

In 2003, Mr Westbury, who is based at Aberystwyth, received an award from then Home Secretary David Blunkett for his work in the community.

But he said he felt compelled to resign following the council's decision.

"This is a recipe for disaster," said Mr Westbury.

Penparcau Youth Club
Mr Westbury had worked at the youth club for six years

"A youth club is just that - a club for young people. There's a case for a club for 16-20-year-olds, but not those aged up to 25.

"I feel that people aged up to 25 would have a negative influence on impressionable younger people.

"We need to target young people between 11-16, the most impressionable period of their lives, and I think we've had a positive effect and positive results working with children in that age bracket."

Youth club member Dean Edwards, 15, opposes the council's plans.

He said: "My brother is 23 and has two children. He doesn't want to bother with a youth club.

"No-one from the council has explained what they are thinking of doing, and they don't seem to know if the adults will attend the same club as us."

A spokeswoman for the council said: "It is not suitable to have 11 and 25-year-olds at the youth club at the same time.

"The issue of hosting two separate nights of activities for different ages has been discussed, and the thoughts of young people in the area are being sought."




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