Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Herefordshire’s youth service reviewed

The way youth services are provided comes under the spotlight this month as Herefordshire Council launches a consultation on the future of the county’s youth services.

At the moment, the council works from eight youth centres across the county, an outdoor education centre based in Hereford and also provides targeted youth support to young vulnerable people.

About a quarter of the county’s 13-19 year olds use one of these services or clubs. The majority of young people access clubs and groups delivered by other organisations including young farmers, voluntary youth groups, schools and churches. Some simply do not access youth services at all.

Due to budget pressures, the council needs to explore a range of options for the future. This involves doing things differently by considering a package of changes in line with recommendations approved by the council’s cabinet earlier this year. These recommendations were to prioritise services for the most vulnerable young people in the county, encourage positive activities for young people through promoting more community involvement and consider transforming outdoor education services into a self-financing business.

As a result, the council has published a consultative document explaining the challenge being faced and asking for the views of young people, and other interested parties including adults and carers, providers and agencies working with young people.

Councillor Patricia Morgan, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: “We are consulting on the principles presented in the Youth Review and need to keep our options open until we have gathered the views of young people. To keep things as they are is not feasible. Like our neighbouring authorities in Worcestershire and Gloucestershire we need to explore how we can do things differently to make sure that the cash we have available is being spent well and targeted in the right places.

"We are very keen to hear what young people would like their services to look like and are particularly interesting in receiving feedback from those who don’t use council youth services at the moment.”

The deadline for responses is 20 April 2012. Findings will be published on the council’s web site and recommendations made to the council’s cabinet when it meets in June.

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