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Tuesday, 23 December 2014

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Carlisle Youth Zone chief told job is no longer needed

A former Cumbria County Council director who took the top job at Carlisle Youth Zone less than a year ago has been made redundant.

Stephen Mason photo
Stephen Mason

It is a just under a year since Stephen Mason was appointed chief executive at the charity, which caters for young people aged eight to 18 at its £5 million Victoria Place centre.

Officials confirmed that Mr Mason, 46, left last week after his bosses decided that the charity no longer needs a chief executive. The Youth Zone’s service development manager Julia Mullarkey and the centre’s youth work manager Rhian Davies are now the senior operational managers.

Julia said that the services offered by the charity would not be affected. Before taking up his post with the Youth Zone, Mr Mason, a father-of-two, who lives in Carlisle, was a locality director in the children’s service department of Cumbria County Council.

He worked with children and young people for 28 years with a varied background in education and social care. When he took up his post in December last year, he said: “I want to develop what we offer to young people by providing a safe and exciting place to go with support and encouragement to help inspire them.

“I am also keen to help our vulnerable young people by steering them away from anti-social behaviour by providing positive alternatives and opportunities.”

He also spoke of his hope that the charity could play a key part in tackling youth unemployment. He said: “There’s a chance we can increase some work opportunities by helping make sure young people are ready for work through the various activities we have here. I am keen to help steer our vulnerable young people away from anti-social behaviour by providing positive alternatives and opportunities,”

Mr Mason had succeeded Sue Pennycook, who left the organisation shortly after its launch.

When Mr Mason was appointed, the charity’s chairman, accountancy firm boss David Allen, described the move as “positive.”

Commenting yesterday, Mr Allen said: “The Youth Zone has been going now for 18 months and it’s a fantastic facility but it has become clear that we don’t need the role of chief executive and we won’t be recruiting another.

“We have some fantastic staff and we have a lot of faith in them. But we need the organisation to be lean and effective, and the focus has to be on putting resources into the young people who use the centre on the delivery side.”

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