Youth group’s anger at council collection charge

Diane Jones, Laura Scott and Keith Sunderland
Diane Jones, Laura Scott and Keith Sunderland

LEADERS of a Worthing youth group are calling for Worthing Borough Council’s support after the group has started being charged for its waste disposal.

The not-for-profit West Durrington Phoenix Youth Group, which operates from the Northbrook Project off Romany Road, faces charges from the council of £260 a year to have its rubbish and recycling removed.

Voluntary secretary for the youth group, Laura Scott, said the money will drastically eat into the group’s budget.

She said: “£260 a year may not sound a lot to some, but it would pay towards a trip out for the kids in term-time, or go towards buying a minibus for the club. I have also been told it is illegal for us to take the rubbish home again – so we have no choice but to pay.”

Councillor Diane Jones and former councillor Keith Sunderland are supporting the group in fighting against the council’s decision.

Mrs Jones said: “I organised the bins for the group, as they were taking the rubbish home themselves. However, although the bins themselves were free, the collection wasn’t. I have spoken to the team involved and free or reduced collection has been point blank refused. I think it is ridiculous. The group is a wonderful thing for the children in the area and should be supported by the council.”

A spokesperson for Worthing Borough Council said: “Worthing Borough Council has chosen, at its discretion, to charge West Durrington Phoenix Youth Group the lowest charge for commercial waste disposal. Unfortunately, we cannot grant free waste disposal until the group is a registered charity, however, we do support the work the volunteers do.”

Laura said converting to charity status would go against the ethos of the group, and would take time away from being with the children.

She said: “We set this up as a group of ordinary people just wanting to give something back to the community. All the paperwork and red tape involved with being a charity would mean we would be able to spend less time with the children.

“With all the youth service cuts, groups are folding left, right and centre – I would have hoped Worthing Council would support us.

“It’s really disappointing.”