Communities look to provide own youth services
YOUTH services in Nailsea and Pill will be coordinated by community-based groups when North Somerset Council ceases to support them from April.
The unitary authority has decided to slash the amount of money it spends on youth workers in the district from the next financial year onwards. Cash will only be allocated to pay for targeted services, with general youth work being scrapped altogether.
As a result, the communities of Nailsea and Pill now plan to create their own commissioning groups, which will source and fund youth work and children’s services in their area.
Both will apply for funding from North Somerset Council, which is making a pot of money available to help such groups get started.
However, after the next financial year, the groups will not receive any funding from the unitary authority and it will be up to them to fundraise from other sources.
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* In Pill, volunteers are being sought to join the newly-created Pill Children and Young People’s Partnership, which has been set up by parish councillor Arthur Taylor, North Somerset councillor Donald Davies and Pill Resource Centre chairman Gerry Hunt.
A meeting will be held at the community centre in Church Place on Monday at 7.30pm for anyone interested in volunteering with the partnership, which is still in need of six more members.
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The group has already began work on merging the services provided by the village youth club, which has a base next to the community centre and is run by North Somerset Council youth workers, and the youth drop-in, which is run from the resource centre in Baltic Place.
Efforts will also be made to analyse where similar duplication could be occurring and where there are gaps in other areas of provision.
Cllr Davies, who is also a treasurer for the resource centre, said: “I don’t think there is sufficient coordination between the groups currently providing services.
“This commissioning body will manage funding from various sources, such as the parish council or charities.
“Any groups working with children and young people will then be eligible to ask for funding.
“The youth work is the most pressing but we want it to be for children of all ages.”
The commissioning group also hopes to buy-in services such as youth workers through a tendering process.
Pill and Easton-in-Gordano Parish Council has agreed to give the partnership �15,000 for the next financial year and the group is also hoping to receive �7,000 from North Somerset Council.
* In Nailsea, the town council, Nailsea School, Nailsea Youth House, the community trust, churches and members of the police, known as the Nailsea Youth Network, have also formed a commissioning group.
The network is now inviting any organisations which provide activities for children and young people to contact them so it can be established what gaps there are in local provision.
Members are keen to hear from organisations affected by the cuts or struggling to survive in the current economic climate.
A meeting for anyone interested in getting involved will be held at The Tithe Barn in Church Lane at 7pm on Tuesday.
The Nailsea Youth Network can be contacted via Angela Gosling at Nailsea School on 01275 851151 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org