Posted: Thu 4th Feb 2016

Youth Service cuts should be kept to a minimum /
This article is old - Published: Thursday, Feb 4th, 2016

Anglesey’s Partnership and Regeneration Scrutiny Committee has recommended that Youth Service budget cuts should be kept to a minimum. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

A fall in youth club attendance figures, together with new expectations from the Welsh Government and growing financial pressures has forced the County Council’s Lifelong Learning Service to consider how it delivers the service in future. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Members discussed options to transform the youth service on Tuesday (February 2nd) following a recent consultation with young people and other stakeholders. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Anglesey County Council’s principal Youth Officer, Enid Williams explained, “Despite having one of the largest network of small rural clubs in Wales, the Island has seen a significant drop in the number of young people attending youth clubs in recent years.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“The national and local demands and financial challenges have led to a review of the way that we provide our youth services. The recent consultation process gave us an opportunity to focus on the future delivery of the Youth Service and our young people’s priorities.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Options now under consideration include appointing a full-time youth worker based in each secondary school; a reduced number of clubs and smaller team of part-time staff; and the possibility of supporting smaller village communities to run voluntary youth clubs, supported but not funded by the youth service. Further focus on opportunities for young people to gain accreditations like the Duke of Edinburgh Award, and engagement with young people who are not in education, training or employment is also proposed. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Partnership and Regeneration Scrutiny Committee members supported proposals to look at these options, but also called on the Executive to allow any future service model to be based on a maximum 20% budget cut, as outlined in the report. They also backed a further period of consultation on the final proposed costed models during the summer, which would allow a revised youth service model to be implemented in 2017-18. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Partnership and Regeneration Scrutiny Committee Chairman, Councillor Derlwyn Hughes, said, “The youth service and good work it does is important to each and every one of us. We must now focus on the needs of our young people as outlined during the recent consultation with the aim of providing a vibrant and relevant youth service. We must achieve this within difficult financial constraints, of course, but we would urge the Executive to attempt to keep any cuts to a minimum.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The youth service report and scrutiny recommendations will be presented to the Council’s Executive on February 8th. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

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