A few weeks back the Redcliff Youth Centre sent out an SOS to the community to make people aware of its financial difficulties, and to ask for whatever short term financial support it can get to see it through the end of this year while the centre’s directors come up with a long term plan.
The Youth Centre celebrated 25 years in Redcliff in 2015, but may not see another if the community does not come together on this. Having a place for youth to go is vital to a community the size of Redcliff, especially in these trying economic times. Often kids coming to the Youth Centre are relying on the organization to provide them with nourishing snacks, healthy social interaction in a safe environment and a place to stay out of trouble off the streets.
This is probably the worse time for the Youth Centre to consider closing as tough financial times leave local families with few options for their kids and teens after school. But faced with declining funding from private donors also bitten by Alberta’s bitter economic situation and increased use and need, there comes a point where even lean organizations like the Redcliff Youth Centre can no longer sustain their services.
Times are tough, but if we can find money for other vital facilities in the community then we need to find money for this too. The Redcliff Youth Centre only receives $12,000 in taxpayer money to run its operations annually. The onus is on Redcliff’s council to look into that and see what more financial support can be jarred loose in its upcoming budget consultations, but it is not solely the responsibility of council to make up the difference.
Local businesses, individuals and service organizations need to step up to the plate here as well, and quickly. The Youth Centre will likely close by December if it can’t string together some short and medium term support between now and then. Time for community members to step up and step forward.