"BLINKERED thinking" by council officials and young people being "hoodwinked" is how protesters see the closure of 39 youth clubs in Gwynedd.

As it stands, Gwynedd youth clubs will not reopen as usual in September, despite a protest and a 6,000 named petition being put forward.

Angry campaigners gathered in Caernarfon to fight the closures outside Gwynedd Council Chambers prior to the full council meeting on Thursday, May 3.

About 50 people gathered, sang songs and chanted their disapproval, whilst a PA system played comments and a protest song written by youngsters from a Blaenau Ffestiniog youth club.

The group “Achubwch Glybiau Ieuienctid Gwynedd,” presented the petition hoping to save the clubs.

Despite the action, councillors failed to vote for the recommendation put forward by Llais Gwynedd Councillor Alwyn Gruffydd that the cabinet should re-consider the decision to close.

Instead councillors voted 39-30 for an alternative amendment, put forward by Plaid Cymru Councillor Menna Baines, which sees youth clubs remaining closed unless parish or town councils will agree to fund them.

The protest group, organised by Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg, were supported by Mary Gwen Griffiths Clarke the Arfon Labour Parliamentary Candidate who said:“"There is no guarentee that community councils will fund them, as the money comes from Gwynedd to the councils, the council has offered no continuity of service, and it has in fact created a lot of uncertainty. The youth of Gwynedd deserve better.

"Not investing in young people is not investing in the future. This is blinkered thinking by the council who lacked transparency at the consultation phase where no closures were mentioned. The public and young people were hoodwinked.

"Young people need to be central to the design and delivery of youth services and not an after-thought."

In proposing the initial closure plans, cabinet member Craig ab Iago claimed the change was “difficult” but necessary.

He said: “We can’t continue to do the same thing year in year out if the service does not meet the needs of young people”

A spokesperson for Gwynedd Council said the Council's Cabinet was asked to reconsider specific elements of the new model for the County Youth Service, due to concerns on three accounts, the change of emphasis from community to individual welfare, the likely impact on the county's most deprived areas, the probable effect on the Welsh language.

"We therefore ask the Cabinet to hold urgent discussions with each of the town, community and city councils as well as with other relevant agencies.

"The purpose of this would be to consider ways of collaborating in order to fund as many as possible of the county's youth clubs - where that is desired locally - and to provide appropriate support to the voluntary youth organizations that face funding cuts.

"We also ask Cabinet to carry out a linguistic assessment of the impact of the reorganisation and an assessment of the possible social impact on the most deprived areas of the county."

Young Farmers Clubs were also hit by the decision, last week with a £37,960 annual grant being scrapped after the current financial year.