Jobs lifeline for youth workers

This Is Wiltshire: Coun Laura Mayes Coun Laura Mayes

THE jobs of youth workers which are under threat could be saved by an alternative plan put forward by Wiltshire councillors.

Council leaders want to cut £190,000 from the £1.2m youth services budget and one of the options proposed is to axe the equivalent of 50 full-time posts.

The Children’s Select Comm-ittee highly criticised the cost-cutting plans to replace more of the council’s youth service with community-led provision.

On Tuesday the task group set up by the select committee put forward a second plan that offered the same savings but without any job losses.

The proposal, which was approved by eight votes with two abstentions, includes cutting £20,000 from the budget for the Sparksite information website for young people, and shutting the little-used confidential advice service The Line, saving a further £20,000.

The last £150,000 would be found by reallocating budgets.

Committee chairman Jon Hubbard said: “Necessary savings can be achieved in the budget, while still being able to provide services with professional youth workers, as well as training and employment opportunities for apprenticeships.”

He said it was important to take into account the preventative work that youth services undertake with young people who might otherwise end up on drugs or commit crime.

Coun Jacqui Lay, a member of the task group, said: “A number of members still think we are only running youth club services, which is not all we provide. They do provide services which I don’t think we recognise enough.”

The council’s cabinet will decide whether to accept the report on May 15.

Coun Laura Mayes, cabinet member for children’s services, said: “I wanted to thank the task group for all the work they have done in such a short time period.

“What you have proposed will be part of our deliberations for our final cabinet report.”

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