1,700 respond to youth services review

MORE than 1,700 people have responded to a review about how youth activities should be provided in the future.

Wiltshire Council’s plans to axe youth centres and make youth workers redundant in a bid to save around £190,000 from its youth services budget have sparked angry responses and fears that popular and badly-needed services could be lost.

The council says its consultation is giving young people the chance to say how funding for youth activities can be targeted more effectively and benefit more of the county’s young residents.

And it wants more people to have their say before the consultation closes on April 14.

Since the 10-week public consultation launched on February 3, teams have been visiting schools, listening to young people at focus groups, talking to staff, voluntary organisations and local communities, and attending area boards to get feedback on the future of youth services.

Around 550 young people have attended the focus groups across the county.

Laura Mayes, cabinet member for children services, said:“We wanted to hear from all communities but particularly young people and I’m really pleased to see so many young people getting involved and giving us their views. “I’ve been to area board meetings across the county and spoken to people of all ages and I have been impressed by the ideas put forward. No decisions have yet been made and I would urge people to have their say before the consultation closes on April 14.”

The council has four options on the table - retaining the current in-house service with a reduced budget, outsourcing the service, encouraging staff to for a public service mutual or developing a community led approach where area boards will able to fund youth activities in their area.

The council says it prefers the community-led approach and use new community campuses to provide activities.

To take part in the review visit sparksite.co.uk.

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