Archive for the ‘Youth’ Category

Council agrees to continue funding youth centres in Priority Neighbourhoods

Posted on Tuesday 11th September 2012 at 5:56 pm by SH (Editor)

Patchway Youth Centre, Coniston Road, Patchway, Bristol.

A Special Meeting of South Gloucestershire Council (SGC) last night confirmed a decision made by its Children and Young People Committee on 25th July that will see centre-based youth provision safeguarded in the authority’s six Priority Neighbourhoods (Cadbury Heath, Filton, Kingswood, Patchway, Staple Hill and Yate/Dodington).

The committee had also agreed that a pot of £227,000 be made available to contribute to ‘positive activities’ for young people in other parts of the district.

A lengthy three-and-a-half hour debate heard Conservative members argue for all the available funding to be distributed evenly across the district rather than being focused on mainly urban areas.

But the Liberal Democrats moved an amendment, backed by Labour, to keep youth centres in the six priority areas and make an increased amount of £427,000 available for other areas to bid for (the extra £200,000 being transferred from the separate budget for ‘targeted’ youth provision).

The Conservatives moved an amendment to increase the subsidy to £527,000, which was defeated.

The council eventually agreed that the sum available to the non-priority areas should be £437,700.

SGC currently runs 13 youth centres and a further six are run by voluntary organisations.

Local authority owned youth centres that will need to seek alternative premises management from 2013/2014 are located in Fromeside, Little Stoke, Hanham, Oldland and Wickwar. If organisations aren’t found to take over these centres, they are likely to be “decommissioned” by the council.

The youth centres in Thornbury, Chipping Sodbury and Almondsbury already operate in premises owned by another body.

Funding for the Armadillo youth café and centre in Yate is governed by a separate arrangement between SGC and Yate Town Council, although SGC says it wants to limit its contribution to £99,000 for 2013/14 and make the project “self-financing” in the near future.

Photo: Patchway Youth Centre – one the centres that will continue to be run by SGC (©Patchway Journal).

More: Reaction from the three main political parties »

Source: Press releases from the Labour, Liberal Democrat and Conservative Groups on South Gloucestershire Council

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Crunch vote on youth centre closures

Posted on Friday 7th September 2012 at 6:11 pm by SH (Editor)

The Conservatives.

Community leaders across South Gloucestershire are to make a last-ditch attempt to save their local youth centres at a special council meeting on Monday 10th September.

The special meeting of all seventy councillors is being held after Conservative councillors challenged a controversial decision taken by seven Labour and LibDem councillors on the authority’s Children and Young People Committee on 25th July.

At the July meeting, Conservative councillors had proposed a level playing field so that all youth centres and clubs across the whole district be able to bid into a £520,000 ‘positive activities’ budget.

The aim was to increase participation after the latest figures revealed that a whopping 4 out of 5 young people were shunning council youth centres on a regular basis.

But Labour and LibDem councillors did a deal – branded ‘dodgy’ by Conservatives – and used their combined majority to divert funding to centres in just six communities, whilst leaving all the remaining centres, including Thornbury, Hanham, Oldland, Little Stoke, Chipping Sodbury, Winterbourne and Wickwar, to compete over a ‘positive activities’ budget of just £227,700 – less than half of what Conservative councillors had proposed.

At the moment, the council allocates funding directly to youth centres, but these are not evenly spread across the district with many communities, particularly rural areas, lacking one entirely.

And even in communities where there is one, the latest figures for 2011/12 showed that of the 21,670 young people aged 13-19 in South Gloucestershire, just 4,431 regularly accessed a council youth centre.

This means that thousands of local young people currently have little or no access to council funded activities.

Cllr Keith Cranney, Conservative councillor for Stoke Gifford ward, which includes under-threat Little Stoke youth centre:

 “Little Stoke youth centre does a tremendous job and it’s already one of the most popular centres in the district.”

“But it doesn’t take a genius to work out that if Labour and LibDem councillors succeed in more than halving this ‘positive activities’ budget, then the chances of Little Stoke youth centre remaining open also more than halves.”

More: Councillor calls on residents to "fight for fairness" »

Source: Conservative Group on South Gloucestershire Council

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Tories accused of “prolonging the agony” over youth centres

Posted on Thursday 26th July 2012 at 12:59 pm by SH (Editor)

Patchway Youth Centre, Coniston Road, Patchway, Bristol.

Labour councillors in South Gloucestershire have slammed the Conservatives for refusing to accept a decision that would have safeguarded core youth centre provision in large parts of urban South Gloucestershire.

At a meeting of the council’s Children & Young People Committee yesterday afternoon (25th July) the Conservatives pressed ahead with their plans to transfer all of the district’s youth centres to external organisations. Those centres that cannot find alternative providers and funding would face closure. This plan was first contained in proposals put out to consultation when South Gloucestershire Council’s was under Conservative control.

[Ed: The council has since changed to using a committee style of governance, rather than the previous executive system.]

However, an alternative proposal was supported by Labour and Liberal Democrat councillors at the meeting. This proposal safeguarded centre-based youth provision in the council’s six designated Priority Neighbourhoods and delegated funds for more local decisions on how best to support services in other areas. This proposal was successfully voted through, at which point the Conservative councillors invoked a procedure to refer the decision to Full Council for reconsideration at some unspecified date in the future.

Labour: “Tories are prolonging the agony”

Councillor Gareth Manson (Labour Woodstock), Labour’s Lead Member on Children and Young People said:

“The Conservatives seem hell-bent on hiving off all of the council’s youth centres. They tried to get this through today and lost the vote. Rather than accept the result, they are prolonging the agony, causing more delay and uncertainty for our youth centre users and those that work with them. They are alone in wanting this outcome as respondents to the council’s consultation, and now the committee itself, have rejected the idea.”

Read on for Liberal Democrat and Conservative responses »

Source: Press releases from the Labour, Liberal Democrat and Conservative Groups on South Gloucestershire Council

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Youth funding change “could benefit thousands”

Posted on Monday 12th March 2012 at 1:32 pm by SH (Editor)

The Conservatives

Thousands more youngsters could benefit from council funding, under new proposals being considered by South Gloucestershire Council (SGC).

The Council’s statistics show that, of the 22,000 young people aged 13-19 in South Gloucestershire, only around 20 per cent regularly accessed a council youth centre in 2010/11.

And so the council is consulting on proposed changes to its children, young people and family services, including a proposal to allocate part of its youth budget on a per young person basis to ensure that more young people can benefit from access to positive activities – and a Conservative councillor has suggested a voucher scheme.

At the moment, the council allocates funding directly to youth centres, but these are not evenly spread across the district with many communities, particularly rural areas, lacking one entirely.

And even in communities where there is one, attendance figures show that they are not well-used.

This means that thousands of local young people currently have little or no access to council funded activities.

Cllr Robert Griffin (Con, Pilning & Severn Beach) said:

“The rural area that I represent does not have a council youth centre, but there are so many clubs, church groups and uniformed organisations, like the Scouts and Brownies, which large numbers of local young people participate in, but which attract zero council funding.”

“But this experience is not unique to Pilning and Severn Beach – it’s symptomatic of a wider issue not just across the rest of South Gloucestershire, but also across the rest of the country where you have a funding system based around buildings rather than people.”

“What we need is an end to the one-size-fits-all system that we have now and move to a system where young people can access positive activities tailored to their own individual needs.”

More: "Youth funding should follow the young person" says councillor »

Source: Conservative Group on South Gloucestershire Council

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