News reaches me that Labour has finally decided to kill off the innovative Youth Coffee Bar in Maghull Town Hall after a few years or more of seemingly hoping it would simply die off. I understand that they have given the worker employed to help run the Coffee Bar notice to quit.
I have covered this story many times before through all its twists and turns and here is a link to those previous postings:-
As I have said before it was pretty obvious from the start of Labour’s tenure on Maghull Town Council that they simply did not care for the Youth Coffee Bar, possibly because they could not control it? Indeed, it had been deliberately set up so that young people ran it themselves and only relied on adult input as they required it. It was all about them doing things as they thought best, learning life skills along the way.
Sefton Youth Service was involved from the start but they were never really on-board with the concept as they wanted control, education curriculum related activities etc. When Maghull TC was Lib Dem-run we stuck to the format that young people told us they wanted and there were quite a few run-ins with Sefton Youth Service. There were, however, some notable exceptions to the dead hand of Sefton’s Youth Service in a number of individual youth workers who could see what was being created and why. Dear Nova Rimmer headed the list of enlightened youth workers and I was delighted to meet her in Southport a couple of weeks ago looking really well after a period of very poor health in her retirement. She was an absolute star and was so sad to hear of the demise of the Coffee Bar which she stuck her neck out to develop in the face of her employer’s grudging and limited backing.
The original idea for the facility was not a political one from the Lib Dems or any other party for that matter. It grew out of the ideas of young people attending Maghull’s local high schools. They came to the Town Council and the then Lib Dem administration ran with their ideas and made them a reality. We did not ask the youngsters to deliver leaflets for us or to join the Lib Dem Party in return for our support, we simply tried to give their ideas a chance to succeed.
Nickie Smith was a leading light within the original group of young people who got the Youth Coffee Bar off the ground and my old chum Andrew Blackburn, back in the days when he was a Maghull and Sefton Councillor, took on all comers who had a downer on the Coffee Bar. And yes there were those who said they did not want a Youth Coffee Bar in the Town Hall which they felt was for adults. Andrew saw them off!
And you know what it became a huge success, regularly attracting numbers of young people well above what traditional youth centres were getting through their doors in Sefton Borough. What’s more folks from across Merseyside and beyond, with an interest in youth facilities, came to look at the Youth Coffee Bar as they considered replicating it in their own communities.
Maghull & District Youth Council, which the Town Council also nurtured, was a part of the management process but Labour-run Maghull TC seem to have let that slip away too.
This is all so very sad. Have Labour killed it off because they could not control it? Because they could not live with a project initiated during the Lib Dem era? Because they have no interest in youth facilities?
So sad, so sad, so sad…………….