BRIDGWATER Town Council has awarded £9,400 to a range of youth provision services in the town, helping to promote existing youth organisations and to encourage youth service providers to do more.

The council had set up a Youth Fund of £7,000, with organisations able to apply for a maximum of £500. Nineteen applications were received, 14 accepted and five were deferred to the finance committee for consideration.

The applications came from Youth Unlimited (The Rollercoaster), Victoria Park Community Centre, Somerset Film at the Engine Room, Somerset Army Cadets in Bridgwater, Bridgwater Hockey Club for coaching and kit, Boomsatsuma (youth photography project at Bridgwater Arts Centre), 2BU – the LGBT support group, Alive Christian Ministries for youth drop in equipment, Westfield Church for youth activities, Somerset Youth Volunteer Network, Rhode Lane Wanderers football team, Compass Disability, Somerset eating disorders project ‘SWEDA’, Wessex House for youth mental health awareness, Ups and Downs (Downs syndrome support group), Bridgwater amateur swimming club, Bridgwater Sea Cadets and Somerset Sailing Association.

Cllr Diogo Rodrigues, Bridgwater Town Council youth spokesperson said:“Youth services in Bridgwater, and in fact all over the country, have seen their funding cut repeatedly from local authorities and are more reliant than ever on income from different sources to allow them to keep providing vital services to young people.

"The youth grants we have given out will support these organisations and allow them to provide meaningful services and activities for young people in the town.

"This fund has also demonstrated that there is a vast and wide range of services for young people in Bridgwater, from sports to youth clubs to support groups, and more that could be still. So, if anyone tells you that there is nothing for young people to do in Bridgwater, that simply is not true.”

Due to the demand for these grants and the positive effect they have on our local communities, Bridgwater Town Council plans to continue with the Youth Fund next year with an increased budget of £10,000.

Cllr Diogo Rodrigues added: “These organisations really do provide such positive and worthwhile support and activities for young people and we are proud to be able to continue to offer financial support next year.

"We have decided to continue the youth fund with an increased budget because we recognise the positive results that come out of this for young people and the wider community as a whole.

"I do hope however that other councils can follow suit and soon offer more support to youth service providers in our town.”

Any youth organisation interested in applying for funds next year can contact Cllr Diogo Rodrigues by email, and they will be notified when the application process opens.