COUNCIL leaders will decide the future of youth services at a meeting being held today.
Wiltshire Council is looking to cut £190,000 from the £1.2m youth services budget and has launched a review into the youth activity element of the youth service earlier this year.
The ten-week consultation gathered opinion from more than 1,700 young people on the options for funding youth activities in the future. There were also responses from voluntary and community organisations, Wiltshire Parent Carers Council and area boards.
The feedback has been shaped into a report for the council’s Cabinet meeting today and recommends a community-led model operating in each area with support from trained community youth officers, which would mean cutting the equivalent of 50 full-time posts.
Laura Mayes, the council’s Cabinet member for children’s services, said: “We started this review with a lot of questions about what the future of youth services should look like and how we could ensure it reflects young people’s modern lives. The feedback we have received has given us answers and I’d like to thank everyone who took part – to see so many young people engaged in local democracy has been excellent.
“It’s clear young people want support from a trusted member of staff and they also want a greater voice and more influence.”
The proposals include giving more of a voice and influence to young people through Local Youth Networks, which would advise area boards, recommend local priorities and help monitor the quality and effectiveness of youth activities.
An alternative plan has been suggested by a task group and supported by the county’s children’s committee, which suggests cutting the budget for Sparksite, a information website for young people, and closing the little-used confidential advice service The Line, as well as reallocating budgets to save the other £150,000 so that jobs don’t have to be axed.
The Cabinet report can be viewed online at wiltshire.gov.uk and a decision will be made at the extraordinary meeting at 4pm at County Hall in Trowbridge.