North Somerset Council urged to reverse youth-club funding cuts
PUBLISHED: 16:00 27 January 2020
North Somerset Council has been urged to reverse the abolition of youth-club funding in its next budget so volunteers can stop 'scrabbling' for grants to provide services.
At a meeting of North Somerset Council, councillor Wendy Griggs welcomed extra council funding for early intervention for young people but said youth services also needed cash.
She said: "In 2011, the previous administration wiped out the funding for youth clubs.
"Since then, town and parish councils and other organisations have picked it up.
"Our voluntary organisations are working really hard - they have to scrabble to provide their services.
"There's a real need for some budget for organisations to sustain what they're already doing."
Julie Howard from Clevedon YMCA added: "North Somerset is one of the most unequal local authorities in the country. In Clevedon, you see a 20 per cent increase in poverty just by crossing Old Church Road.
"Youth work is invaluable. Despite North Somerset Council's cutting the funding in 2011, it's recognised by the community as important and is still there.
"Our plan is to start a youth club for young people with disabilities. It's very hard to get funding for staffing costs.
"We need North Somerset Council to allocate funding for youth services, A fund of £200,000-300,000 would allow a shift away from chasing grants to actual service delivery."
Cllr Catherine Gibbons, executive member for children's services, said councils across the country were struggling to support young people.
She said: "In October, the previous government announced a £500million fund for youth services.
"We're all waiting to see whether they're going to come right on their promises and if councils like this will be listened to.
"We can only do so much. It's just not right."
Council finance boss Ashley Cartman said there was little room left, after years of cuts, to manoeuvre in the authority's budget for 2020-21.
But he added that they were holding a 'genuine consultation' on whether members and residents wanted to change it.
He warned, however, that 'the barrel is pretty empty'.