Sport, youth service and play association merger could benefit youngsters in West Howe

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DISCUSSIONS are underway about merging sports facilities, youth services and a popular play association on one Bournemouth site.

The idea of combining Fernheath Play, Fernheath Community Sports Association and Bournemouth’s integrated youth service to make best use of the Verney Road site is being considered.

Representatives from all three organisations have formed a working group, which is investigating the advantages of jointly providing services.

If services are merged, new trustees and a new manager would be needed to oversee the new arrangement.

Cllr Jane Kelly, cabinet member for regeneration, said: “This partnership offers an exciting opportunity and potential benefits for children, young people and their families.”

And Steve Place, of Bournemouth Council for Voluntary Services, who chaired the initial working group meeting, said: “The working group came up with two options – Fernheath Play expanding to take on youth work or community sports or looking at another existing charity coming in to take over and run it all.

“It was thought the advantages outweighed the disadvantage.

“The aim is to improve facilities at West Howe, which is one of the council’s priority areas. Nobody’s making a commitment to anything at the moment, we are just looking at the feasibility of it. If it’s thought it’s not going to work when we look at the detail, that’s fine.”

He said the discussions would continue for two or three months and any change could come into effect this September.

All three organisations will continue to deliver their current services while the potential new arrangements are being considered.

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