YOUTH provision in Chirk has seen a jump in user numbers despite cutbacks.
On average, 20 youngsters used the new outdoor engagement service during September, up from just four in September last year when the now-defunct youth club was still in operation.
The new model sees the activities on Monday and Thursday evenings focusing on the town's skatepark, Chapel Lane and its park, Chirk Leisure Centre and McDonalds.
The figures were released at Wednesday’s Town Council meeting after councillors requested Wrexham Council’s head of service education enrichment, Donna Dickenson to attend.
Craig Matthews, Wrexham Council’s area officer for youth services who joined her, said during the first week 28 youngsters attended the twice-weekly session, dropping to a monthly low of 12 the following week.
However, town councillors said they were still unhappy with the level of service provision.
It will now be extended to provide trips and more projects led by young people ‘through conversation’.
Cllr Jackie Allen said it was “gross misuse of funds”, adding: “As a responsible parent or grandparent, I’d not want to send a child to the Rec with no guarantee that someone was there, just to have a ‘meaningful conversation’.”
Mrs Dickenson said: “When there was a building it was not being used; only a small number. We’re reaching more young people because more people are on sites like the skatepark.
“The youth club has never attracted great numbers.
“I appreciate you do not want young people out at night but young people were not coming out at night to the club.”
Cllr Newman James asked why the figures had fallen so dramatically after he said an average of 17 children were using the youth club every night in 2010.
“Shouldn’t this (outreach work) have been done before the club was closed?” he said.
“What happened to make the numbers deplete so quickly? It is a failure of Wrexham’s youth service.”
And Cllr Hilary Spragg added: “There’s a lot of uncertainty.
“The children do not know, the information is not getting to them, and parents are disturbed that the youth workers could be anywhere; it is just not safe enough.”
Councillors agreed Cllr Sally Newell and Cllr Deryn Poppitt will go out with youth workers before reporting back to the council.