A FUTURE of a Rhyl restaurant helping young people into work hangs in the balance after part of its funding was withdrawn.
The Taste Academy, which has provided scores of unemployed youngsters with the skills to find work, now faces a battle for survival.
Taste is funded through ESF (European Structural Funds) and the WCVA’s Intermediate Labour Market (ILM) Scheme, Taste’s current contract for funding has expired.Taste Academy, on East Parade, is a social enterprise, which opened last year offering real-life work experience in the catering industry.
So far a third of the 68 learners have gone on to find work.
Vale of Clwyd Assembly Member Ann Jones said: “It would be a real loss to the current intake, future learners and to the constituency as a whole if the Academy was to close.
“It’s been a real success.”
Taste Academy is run by the Rathbone youth charity and also supported by Rhyl City Strategy.
News of uncertainty over its future comes as the number of 18-24 year-olds in Rhyl and the surrounding areas claiming Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) for more than 12 months has jumped by more than 460 per cent.
Now fears have been raised this latest cuts could “blight young lives” in the town.
Last May 15 people in the Vale of Clwyd aged 18-24 had been claiming JSA for more than 12 months, in May this year the figure was 90.
Vale of Clwyd MP Chris Ruane said: “I have spoken to the senior officers in the Rhyl City Strategy and they are currently working with their partners to ensure Taste Academy stays open.
“This massive increase in long-term youth unemployment will blight these young lives and our local economy.”
A spokesman for the Rathbone youth charity said: “At this troubled economic time, charities are finding it difficult to secure funding to support even the most successful social enterprises but Rathbone is currently examining all its funding streams and doing all it can to secure the future of the Taste Academy.
“At this moment in time, The Taste Academy remains a viable business and we urge residents to keep supporting it.”