West Sussex charity Outset Youth Action to close after funding cuts

Peter Evans as Mayor of Chichester in 2017. SUS-180226-085430008
Peter Evans as Mayor of Chichester in 2017. SUS-180226-085430008

Outset Youth Action has announced it is closing down after 41 years of helping young people in West Sussex due to a lack of funding.

The youth charity based in Logde Hill, Pulborough has supported thousands of young people with volunteering opportunities and programmes to build self-esteem and encourage positive lifestyle choices.

In a statement released today, the charity confirmed it would be ceasing operations at the end of August after a reduction in county council funding.

UPDATE:The county council has since defended the decision to cut funding for the organisation, which it said could not ‘provide for a long-term future’.

The charity’s closure announcement statement read: “This has not been an easy decision, nor one that has been made lightly.

“This is the outcome that the trustees have worked hard to try to avoid.

“Unfortunately the climate for funding organisations like Outset Youth Action is extremely difficult at present, and does not show any signs of improvement.

“This has been made worse by West Sussex County Council’s decision to no longer fund any work carried out by Outset Youth Action.

“We would like to take a moment to say a tremendous thank you to all of our volunteers, and our advisors who have worked incredibly hard alongside the rest of our staff team across all of our communities over the past 41 years.

“We would also like to thank all of our supporting organisations, and we wish them all the best in future in continuing to support the young people of West Sussex.”

It added that: “It will now fall to West Sussex County Council to support the young people previously referred to our service.”

The charity works with all categories of vulnerable young people including those in the care system, those with disabilities, and those excluded or at risk of being excluded from full time education for whatever reason.

Its programmes to help young people to engage with and better understand society and its volunteering opportunities aim to turn round young people’s lives, giving them purpose and distracting them from poor lifestyle choices.

Outset Action’s chairman, former Mayor of Chichester Peter Evans said: “It’s a sad time for a long established charity with a proven track record of delivering services for the young people that it now finds itself in a position where it is no longer a viable concern, funding reductions by the officers of West Sussex County Council and the difficulties in raising additional necessary funds through other funding streams, have become more challenging year on year.

“We have re-organised our staffing, reduced overheads and endeavoured to react to the requirements of the local authority, but now find ourselves faced with closure due to lack of finance.

“I would like to personally and on behalf of the Board of Trustees thank our management and staff for a great job done and all those funders and supporters out there thank you for your work and vision in helping us to deliver a much needed service to the young people of the county.”

West Sussex County Council executive chairman Nathan Elvery has given a full statement on why funding was stopped.