Cash-strapped Merton Council approved plans last night to axe all its funding for the borough's two youth centres used by 2,000 youngsters.

Two full-time youth workers and about 20 part-time staff employed by the council will lose their jobs at the Phipps Bridge and Pollards Hill youth centres, according to documents published as part of the council’s business plan until 2019, which was approved by the cabinet.

The move aims to save almost half a million pounds towards the £32m budget cuts the council needs to make.

Behind the scenes, people are working to bring business people together to continue funding the centres which have cost Merton £480,000 a year to run.

Up to 2,000 young people in the areas of highest need in the east of the borough will lose access to youth services unless alternative funding can be found.

Mitcham and Morden's Labour MP Siobhain McDonagh said she had organised a meeting next month to bring interested parties together to discuss funding options.

She said the changes would take effect from April next year.

Miss McDonagh said: "I have got 14 months to try and put something together for the youth services.

"I think if everyone gives a little we will keep something going."

The council said it will seek out organisations who may want to run the two centre buildings with "zero funding."

Wimbledon Times:

Young people at a weekly session at Phipps Bridge in 2010

Wimbledon Times:

Decorated British sprinter Dwain Chambers visited Pollards Hill in 2008

The current funding from the council pays for the running of the two youth centres in Haslemere Avenue and South Lodge Avenue, Mitcham, as well as the weekly Mixed Ability Group in the Community (MAGIC) club at Phipps Bridge for young people with learning disabilities.

Councillor Maxi Martin, Merton Council's cabinet member for children’s services, said: "We are working hard to keep our youth centres open in the face of having to save £32million across many of our services due to central government cuts to our funding.

"In light of these significant savings, we have taken the responsible decision to review funding to the centre and are exploring other ways of working with local providers to continue some of the services or to find alternative funding."

To find out more about getting involved, contact Miss McDonagh's office on 020 7219 4678.