Bromley and Downham Youth Club is to close after 35 years due to a lack of certainty over future funding.

Youth First, a community benefit organisation which is contracted to provide youth services in Lewisham, cannot guarantee the project funding beyond July, although negotiations with the Council are ongoing.

Club Trustee Phillip Cheverton fears the impact closure at the end of March will have on vulnerable young people, for whom the club is a vital social space, separate from school and home.

Mr Cheverton, 70, a retired city banker, said: “The impact will be very visible. The key times are from 4.30pm to 7.30pm before parents come home.

“There will suddenly be 45 young people on the streets rather than at the club.

“There will be more opportunities for them to become bored, and anti-social.

“Plus, they are more vulnerable if they are not going home.

“Our young people benefit from the club offering them somewhere to go after school where they are safe from harm, they no longer have that choice – they are being let down by the lack of appropriate funding.”

The club is located on the border between Bromley and Lewisham, attracting a diverse group of young people from both boroughs, ranging in age from eight to 21.

A variety of facilities are available, including snooker tables, an IT suite, a football pitch, kitchen and boxing club.

Services are provided by nine paid members of staff and four volunteers.

Youth First began funding the club three-and-a-half years ago, after Bromley Council withdrew support for the project.

While reduced funding is likely to be available after March 31, no agreement is in place beyond July.

Placing ultimate responsibility on the reduction of Council funding from central Government, Mr Cheverton says the approach is "short-sighted."

The Conservative Government cut £9m from Lewisham Council's budget last year.

Mr Cheverton, whose wife Hilary is secretary of the club, added: “It’s because central Government is no longer properly funding local boroughs, which ultimately seems short-sighted.

“The easiest way for councils to make a cut is to get rid of the slightly less-visible services.

“Generally, the public don’t see the impact of that, so it’s an easy cut.

“It’s fine if you look at the short-term impact, but if you have to deal with the impact on the street it will cost more in the long-term.”

A spokesperson for Youth First said: "It is not yet known if there will be funding for Bromley and Downham beyond July 2020.

"This is dependent on the outcome of discussions with LBL (London Borough of Lewisham) around Youth First’s own contract beyond this time.

"Discussions regarding this future are currently taking place and we expect they will conclude in around June.

"This is a reduction within the context for LBL of ongoing government austerity, a lack of statutory protection for youth services and increased need and pressure within statutory provision such as children’s social care.

"Even at a reduced amount Lewisham is committed to funding universal youth services at a level above most other boroughs nationwide and to do so through the most efficient commissioning to organisations, such as Youth First, that are best place to deliver excellent and high value delivery.

"The closure of B&D (Bromley and Downham) is not due to a definite removal of funding and the B&D board have been clear with Youth First that regardless of any potential extension funding they no longer wish to directly run services.

"Albeit we recognise that this is a choice made within the uncertain and challenging environment described above.

"We hope that over the next couple of months we can be clearer around what is available in the borough and whether this includes provision from Bromley and Downham and if so how this will be delivered.

"In the mean time we will work with B&D and LBL to ensure we enable young people and parents to access services elsewhere."