‘Pointless’ £5k grant for youth services
A county councillor has described a £5,000 grant for youth services to cover the whole of West Sussex as a ‘complete joke’.
Cllr Chris Oxlade (Bewbush & Ifield West) said that the sum was pointless because it only amounted to a few hundred pounds per borough.
The sum compares to the £4 million pounds worth of cuts made to youth services which have seen Ifield youth Wing, Oriel Youth Wing and Crawley Youth Centre losing their funding.
Mr Oxlade said: “It’s not enough money to make any kind of difference whatsoever. I don’t know quite what they’ve done. It’s like they’ve said ‘what’s the lowest amount of money we can give?’ It’s pointless, a complete joke.”
Mr Oxlade raised the issue in a written question to the full council at County Hall, Chichester (October 19).
The sum was allocated to the Youth Support & Development Services (YSDS) by Peter Evans, the cabinet member responsible for children and families.
It is to generate extra money for youth services through match-funding but has to be shared across the county’s districts and boroughs.
In order to make savings of £79 million the county council is withdrawing funding from youth centres and focusing on ‘targeted support’ of the most vulnerable young people.
This includes those at risk of offending or re-offending and those not in education, employment or training (NEETs).
Last year the deadline for making the second £2 million of cuts was extended until 2014/15.
Cllr Evans said: “We cannot spend money that we will not have due to the national reductions in grant support for local authorities. That means having to make some hard choices.
“It is how we make changes that is so important, and the Cabinet has stressed throughout that it will do its utmost to protect the most vulnerable people in West Sussex.”
The county council wants the voluntary sector to take over running the youth centres.
Youth wings in Ifield and Oriel have been transitioned to Ifield Community College and Oriel High School respectively.
A scrutiny report into youth services warned that the impact of budget cuts could take some to emerge.
The Task and Finish Group report found young people felt victimised by the cuts and trust needed to be rebuilt with young people.
Meanwhile it heard from police that a lack of positive activities can lead to an increase in antisocial behaviour and risk to communities.
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Monday 20 May 2013
Temperature: 13 C to 18 C
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