Some sessions resume at The Way youth centre after shock suspension

Sessions for young people have resumed at The Way youth centre after a temporary shutdown.

The Way Youth Zone
The Way Youth Zone

The youth zone on School Street, Wolverhampton, suspended evening and weekend sessions for young people seven weeks ago in a shock announcement ahead of the Easter holidays.

Now bosses say some sessions – run alongside partners the YMCA and Wolves Foundation – have now started at the site, with more set to be rolled out in the coming weeks.

They include multi-sports, art, cooking, music and climbing.

It comes as a city councillor called for a "structured programme" at the site, which is undergoing a major overhaul of operations after bosses said the pandemic forced them to "re-shape" how services are delivered.

A spokesman for OnSide, which supports the running of The Way, said: "We are delighted to resume a number of sessions at The Way.

"These are being held between Tuesday and Saturday.

"These sessions include multi-sports, art, cooking, music and climbing and we are delighted to partner with our partners at the YMCA and Wolves Foundation on these.

"More sessions will continue to be added over the coming weeks and we would encourage young people to take a look online or give us a call to find out what is on offer and then come down to The Way."

A major recruitment drive is underway at the site after a mass upheaval of staff, with positions available in youth work management and delivery, while holiday club support workers are also being sought.

After the suspension of services in March – which saw sessions temporarily shut down on short notice – Wolverhampton Council's Conservative group leader Wendy Thompson said youngsters in the city had been handed a "bad deal".

She said: "It is good to see that The Way appears to be heading in the right direction, but there urgently needs to be a proper structured programme in place.

"Staff there need to know they have job security, and for that to happen there needs to be proper funding and a proper budget.

"More than anything, parents in Wolverhampton need a place they can send their children to with confidence. Our young people deserve the very best.

"The Way can be a real asset for the city. Sadly that has not been the case in the recent past."

Last month the Express & Star revealed that dozens of staff have left The Way since the start of the pandemic, while last year an investigation was launched following complaints from a whistleblower relating to the use of funds and staffing issues.

The Way's new CEO – who will replace Carla Priddon – is expected to be announced next week, along with a new head of youth work.

Sessions can be booked via thewayyouthzone.org.

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