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Grave concerns that volunteers will replace professionals as youth service cut in half

Politics / Wed 19th Feb 2014 at 08:13am

LABOUR politicians have express their deep concerns that youth services in Harlow will be run by volunteers.

Suzy Stride, Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Harlow, said:

“I am pleased to see that Essex County Council have listened to the Save our Youth Service campaign. The protest we arranged at County Hall is even mentioned in the council papers. I’m glad that this is a part victory for the young people’s voices that we made sure were listened to. Although this is positive I am concerned that the youth service budget is still to be reduced by over half to £2.4million by 2016/17. This means this is not a real change of heart just a delay by the Tories in County Hall.

Myself and the young people still have huge concerns over the fact that there will still possibly be the same level of cuts made – just that these will be delayed. It appears that Youth Workers currently employed by Essex County Council will not run a single youth club session; instead they will support volunteers to. Which is all very well in areas where they can find volunteers to do this vital work but in areas where they can’t there will still be gaps. In reality it appears that the Tories in County Hall have not really changed their minds

I have concerns over the proposed capacity building model; which means as volunteers get involved professionally trained youth workers will be made redundant. This poses a long-term threat to future of our youth services. The Youth service is a vital service for our young people delivered by professionals; it would devastating to lose it and for staff to lose their jobs. I will continue to stand up for the voices of young people in Harlow.”

Karen Clempner, County Councillor for Harlow West (Labour), said:

“While I have yet to see the detail of the specific impact in Harlow, it does appear that the high profile campaign to Save our Youth Service has paid off. Essex County Council seem to have accepted our view of the vital importance of Youth Service Provision in Harlow and across Essex. I look forward to seeing the detail, but there remains concern about the level of budget cuts and the impact on the professional youth workers. I will continue to fight for these vital services, which make such a massive difference to young people and their families. “

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