The future of Great Hollands youth club The Zone has caused concern for a Bracknell councillor.

Labour councillor Mary Temperton quizzed the executive member for children, young people and learning, Cllr Dr Gareth Barnard, about the centre, which has been closed on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, at a meeting of the council on Wednesday (November 28).

Cllr Barnard replied: “There was significant need in the area when this centre was developed back in 2010, but over the past year the numbers using the service have decreased by approximately 30 per cent.

“Town centre numbers of young people have increased, so the need for youth services has also increased.

“We want to take our youth offering to where young people are. It’s something they want, where they want at a time they want and it meets there needs going forward.”

Councillor Temperton responded to Cllr Barnard’s answer, saying “there is a great need for work in that area” as she was aware of a small group of young people in the area who needed support.

She added: “I think the young people used to have somewhere to go, it was very welcoming and it was also an alternative and positive social inclusion to what’s happening now.”

Cllr Barnard said: “I have spoken to a number of people involved in supporting young people in Great Hollands and I am absolutely convinced the outreach programme we have got will tackle these issues going forward I think in terms of the early intervention, we are very clear and have always been clear, that our outreach youth work is good.

“With regards to which day of the week they might be open, the key thing is there’s an access point, there’s contact with youth workers in Great Hollands, as there in many other estates in Bracknell Forest.”

Councillor Temperton told the News before the meeting: “Groups used it (The Zone) for raising the self-esteem of young girls, but now it is shut.

“There is an issue with one in eight 11-19 year olds suffering from depression.

“There has never been a greater need to work with young people where the children are welcome to discuss their issues and raise their self-esteem.

“I really do think we need some support as this is a specially built facility for young people.”

A new youth centre is set to be built at Braccan’s Walk in Bracknell town centre which is expected to cost the council up to £750,000.

However Cllr Temperton said: “The new youth centre will be great and I am really pleased that is happening but here is a youth facility that is in an area where the youngsters are.

“Youngsters need to be in a place where they can sit and relax or chat.

“If you get 11-12 year olds involved with youth clubs they stay with them and they can become the leaders of the future.”