Petition leads to debate on cuts to youth service

Thousands of people have signed a petition against funding cuts which would decimate youth services in Warwickshire.

About 13,000 signatures have been collected in protest against Warwickshire County Council’s plan to make an accumulative saving of £4.6 million over the next three years by winding down services.

This is more than double the number of names needed to ensure a full debate will take place at the council’s next meeting at Shire Hall in Warwick on Tuesday February 15 before members make decisions on the authority’s budget for next year.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

In what appears to be a response to the opposition towards the cuts plan, the council announced on Monday that its cabinet has proposed to set aside £1 million to “transform” the service by centring it around youth workers who can move around the county to areas of need.

Cllr Heather Timms (Con, Earl Craven), the county councillor responsible for children, young people and families, said: “Young people remain very much at the heart of the county council’s thinking.

“The funds that were put aside at cabinet will enable youth workers to work as part of a multi-disciplinary team to forge solid links with communities, identify their needs and ensure that the most appropriate provision for young people is available where it is needed.

“We are in discussion with local communities and schools about the management of buildings as we will be looking to focus our resources on services rather than buildings, management and administration.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Cllr Sarah Boad (Lib Dem, Leamington North), who has spoken in favour of saving the youth centre in Lillington, said: “It’s very important that what comes out of this £1 million is making sure the future of the service is sustainable.

“Hopefully it will give some time to plan.”

Chris Spreadbury, vice-chairman of the union Unite’s Warwickshire youth and community branch, was more sceptical about the announcement.

He said: “It seems like a small step in the right direction but it isn’t enough.”