Oxfordshire youth clubs in 'Big Society' cash award

Youth clubs in Oxfordshire that were set to have funding axed after spending cuts have found out they are to receive nearly £300,000.

The money has been made available from what the county council calls its Big Society Fund, named after David Cameron's policy on volunteering.

The total value of bids received was £1.2m. There is £600,000 in the fund.

Labour councillor John Tanner said: "The Big Society is just a cover for spending cuts."

However, he said the people of Littlemore would be "thrilled" with the funding available to restart their youth club.

"The reality is that volunteers, with county council support, will be providing the kind of club which I think the county should be providing for every teenager in Oxfordshire," he said.

Conservative councillor Louise Chapman said: "It is good news that at a time of real financial difficulty for all local councils we are finding innovative ways to keep local young people's centres open."

Leader of the council's Liberal Democrats, Zoe Patrick, was pleased that money was being made available for The Sweatbox at King Alfred's School.

"This is a much needed facility for the whole community and is very much valued," she said.

In addition, Abingdon Street Pastors will receive £2,000.

The Conservative-run council is set to give the go-ahead to the first wave of applications in a cabinet meeting on 19 July.

It currently funds 26 youth centres but government spending cuts mean it must save £119m by 2015.

There will be three more chances to bid for Big Society funding before the end of the financial year.

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