THE FUTURE of school holiday clubs and five youth centres in Bury is in doubt because of council cost-cutting.

Forty-eight jobs could be axed as part of proposals to shut Bury Youth Service - a move that has sparked a mass revolt from staff, bosses and politicians.

Despite the backlash, council bosses would only say there is a proposal to take £300,000 from the youth service’s £1.5 million budget and no decision would be made until March.

Bury North MP David Chaytor, who has been inundated with queries from angry constituents, has demanded a meeting with the council’s children's service manager Eleni Ioannides to get reassurance that jobs and services are safe.

The council this week announced it plans to “externalise the youth service” but refused to give further details.

However, sources say this would mean winding down the youth service from April 1, shutting it in April 2010, and then paying voluntary agencies to run activities. If no outside group came forward to run particular services, they would close.

It is understood the posts of all 48 staff based at the area's six youth clubs are under threat.

Joined by children’s service staff, some of those workers provide school holiday sports clubs, which would also be in jeopardy.

The five centres are: the New Kershaw Centre and Elton Youth Centre in Bury, the Radcliffe Y-Zone, the Shuttle Centre in Whitefield, and the Phoenix Centre in Prestwich and Ramsbottom youth activities.

They provide a daily programme of wide-ranging activities for teenagers, from cheerleading to guitar tuition. Many of the sessions attract up to 100 visitors.

One source said: “Young people, staff and parents are up in arms. The service reached 4,000 teenagers and in some cases can turn them around from potential criminals to model citizens.

“It’s successful because of its joined-up approach with police, service providers and schools and the concerns is that, if it is run by the voluntary sector, that sound structure will disappear forever.

“We know the council has to save money, but we want to know why the service can’t continue to operate as it does now, albeit with £300,000 less.”

Mr Chaytor said: “I am appalled the council has decided to take this drastic step. The youth service plays a crucial role in ensuring young people have something constructive to do in their spare time.

Councillor Vic D'Albert said: "If this proposal were to get the go-ahead then the ramifications would be enormous both from the perspective of supporting young people in an often hostile environment but also in getting to grips with problems on some of our estates where youth workers have done tremendous work.

A Bury Council spokeswoman said: “The budget process will not be finalised until later this year after discussions have taken place and it is inappropriate to speculate on proposed cuts.”