Youth cuts warning from council officers

OFFICERS at Amber Valley council have warned proposed cuts to youth services in Derbyshire could lead to anti-social behaviour as youngsters lose the opportunity to get involved in positive activities.

A cabinet report states that officers are concerned that the loss of up to five youth clubs in Amber Valley “may give rise to an increase in anti social behaviour in the areas affected and may reduce the opportunities for the social development and general well-being of young people.”

Julian Townsend, executive director of Environmental Services at AVBC, has written to Bish Sharif, Integrated Youth Support Manager at Derbyshire County Council, expressing reservations “about the capacity and skills of other organisations to fill the co-ordinated approach of the Youth Service.” He wrote: “The loss of these facilities could lead to an increase in anti social behaviour, as young people whose energies are currently being diverted into positive activities, may instead be likely to congregate on streets and open spaces of an evening.”

The Tory controlled council plans to cut the current service, putting 29 youth centres, mobile units and over 150 qualified youth workers jobs at risk. Under the proposals the council says it will continue to provide qualified youth workers to support vulnerable young people and families facing difficulties and set up a Youth Activities Grants scheme to support new projects, voluntary, community and independent groups. It will also carry out a review of its youth centres to transfer or dispose of the buildings.

Cllr Barry Lewis, Derbyshire County Council Cabinet Member for Young People, said: “Amber Valley Borough Council’s response showed a genuine concern for the well-being of young people in its area and we welcomed the comments. They will be considered alongside other responses later this spring to help us create a youth service that is high quality with a better range of activities, is fairer, more easily accessible and gives taxpayers better value for money.”