Youth workers face losing jobs in big shake-up by Wiltshire Council

This Is Wiltshire: Laura Mayes, cabinet member for children’s services Laura Mayes, cabinet member for children’s services

Councillors will vote today on changes to Wiltshire Council’s youth services, which could see workers made redundant and youth centres closed.

The council is to restructure its community youth activities after cuts from the service’s budget.

Following a ten-week consultation which saw 1,700 young people give their views, the council drew up four possible solutions. Its preferred option is to develop a community-led approach, with youth services co-ordinated from the county’s 18 area boards.

Laura Mayes, cabinet member for children’s services, said the service now employs 48 workers, not all of them full time.

The restructure would mean this comes down to 25.

An alternative proposal which would prevent any job cuts was proposed last month by the council’s children’s select committee, but this will not be taken forward.

The new budget for children’s services would be £1.14m per year, an annual reduction of £191,000.

Coun Mayes also confirmed that ‘unviable’ youth centres could be closed and their services moved into new community campuses, but that no final decisions had been made.

She said: “If a building is incredibly expensive to run and is not really viable we will find an alternative place for them to meet until a campus is up and running, so if there is a village or church hall in the community where they could meet they could go there.

“That was the one thing the young people said to me; ‘it’s the people that are more important than the buildings’, and we want as much money in the service to go on staff, not buildings.

“I think it has been a successful consultation which has changed the way we originally thought we would do it.”

The council’s cabinet meets in County Hall, Trowbridge, at 4pm today.

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