Campaign to save youth workers

A GROUP of young people from Portishead is spearheading a campaign to stop youth cuts in the area.

Volunteer youth worker Charlie Lane and Portishead Youth Club members, Frankie Lane and Amber Burroughs, have joined forces to lead a protest in an attempt to stop North Somerset Council cutting its youth service budget from �1.1 million to �282,763 by 2013.

The proposed cuts, which stem from the unitary authority’s need to save more than �47million by 2015, mean that many, if not all, paid youth worker posts in North Somerset could be deleted.

The girls have already gathered hundreds of signatures on a petition calling for the youth workers to keep their jobs and have also launched their campaign on social networking site Facebook - Save our Youth Workers, Save Our Youth Clubs.

Charlie, aged 18, said: “When I was growing up youth workers played a vital part in my life. The youth club was my second home and I knew there would always be a qualified youth worker available to talk to me when I needed them.”

The proposed cuts could see volunteers running youth centres in the future, but Charlie says that is not good enough.

She added: “Volunteers are not guaranteed, they have no contract to ensure they are going to be there day after day and young people need to know that someone with experience and sound advice will be available for them, not just be there when it suits them.”

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The girls plan to deliver their petition and stage a peaceful protest at the Town Hall in Weston on October 19 when councillors will make a final decision.

The unitary authority wants people to set up community interest companies (CIC) to run youth services and will allocate funds to help with set-up costs.