6 November 2015

Planning ahead for city’s youth services

Proposals for restructuring youth services in Brighton & Hove will be considered by councillors at a meeting on Monday 16 November.

The aim is to create a more flexible service that is easy to access while better targeting support at the young people who need it most during an era of rapidly shrinking council budgets.

Councillors will consider the findings of a city-wide review of youth services in the city. Four young people sat on the review group and co-chaired three of its sub-groups.

The review proposes a cooperative approach for the city, to attract and develop alternative revenue streams that could sustain the provision of youth services, possibly through a Youth Trust or Foundation for the city.

Such a move could open up alternative sources of revenue while bringing services closer to those who need them most.

Open access youth work would be community based, enabling young people to get the support and advice they need with health and social difficulties. More intensive work would be targeted at the most vulnerable young people.

The council’s role in such a structure would be more around coordinating and overseeing services rather than actually delivering them.

Due to budget reductions from government and increased demand for services the council has to make savings of around £68m in the coming years.

The chair of Brighton & Hove City Council’s children, young people and skills committee, Councillor Tom Bewick, said: “We need to find different ways of working to ensure the most vulnerable and disadvantaged children continue to receive the council’s support.

“I’m delighted that young people have taken such an active role in this review and that their views are being represented.

“Doing nothing is not an option. We have to plan for a significant reduction in our budget for youth work in the city and look very carefully at how we use our youth centre buildings in future.

‘’Youth workers both in our voluntary sector partners and in the local authority have done a great job since new arrangements were brought in in 2012.

"A big part of our vision for young people in the city is how we link our youth services to securing better life chances overall. That means improving school to work transitions, including higher quality skills training and apprenticeships.

“I believe a more cooperative approach with our partners across the city, possibly through a Youth Trust or Foundation, is the best way of putting our youth services on a sustainable footing for the future.”