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Thunder Bay youth services funding decision lauded

Youth services workers in Thunder Bay are praising a decision by city council that could see more significant funding increases for youth services across the city.
Kim Baskin says opening new youth centres will open doors for youth in Thunder Bay. (Adam Burns/CBC)

Youth services workers in Thunder Bay are praising a decision by city council that could see more significant funding increases for youth services across the city.

Council approved in principle this week a report prepared by the Youth Services Advisory Committee, which was formed in 2011 to make recommendations for youth programs in Thunder Bay.

The report recommends opening six satellite youth centres, as well as one central location offering one-stop shopping for services.

“We haven't locked in a central hub yet. [But the south core] has definitely been identified as an area that there is a need ... so it could fit into a satellite hub,” said Kim Baskin, program supervisor in the city's child and youth division.

"We are recommending a major youth centre … kind of a one-stop shop. But we know there's also a need to increase access to these opportunities, so having six satellite programs throughout the city, we feel [is] very important. It really opens up the door of opportunity for youth.”

Pat Suddaby, board president of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Thunder Bay, says the city is changing its direction on youth services. (Supplied)

The committee also recommends more than doubling the city's grant to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Thunder Bay.

Club president Pat Suddaby said that shows a "change in direction" in the city's approach to youth services.

“The thought process that the city's going through ... they see the need for the services,” he said.

If council does approve the funding, it will quadruple the city's spending on youth services. The decision is scheduled for early in the new year.

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