BUDGETS have been set for ‘community-led’ young people’s activities now that the county youth service is being axed.
Salisbury area board members met in private to work out how best to use their allocation of £51,539 and to salvage as much as possible of the service provided by Bass Connection and the Wilton Road youth centre.
But as recently as Monday, board chairman Ricky Rogers had no idea how much money they had to play with.
The Journal was able to tell him, after a table showing the estimated youth funding for all the county’s area boards was passed to the paper.
An angry Cllr Rogers said: “It’s typical of Wiltshire Council, keeping those who have got to make these important decisions in the dark.”
The funding, to tide over each board until the end of the financial year, includes substantial sums already held in local youth budgets, often raised by young people themselves to help pay for their own activities and facilities.
In some areas this more than doubles the money allocated to the boards as basic funding by the council.
But these large amounts are only a one-off, and next year’s youth budgets will be much tighter.
Salisbury’s basic allocation from the council was only £18,207 but the total was boosted by £33,333 from this locally-held funding.
Cllr Rogers said: “I think we’ll be OK this year because we are going to effectively steal the young people’s own money.”
But he warned: “The crunch will come when the campus at Five Rivers is built and there are no staff there to run Bass Connection.
“We are looking for organisations that have got a track record of working with young people, and that’s going to cost.”
According to the document seen by the Journal, the estimated funding for other boards in the paper’s circulation area for the rest of the year is: Amesbury, £35,010; Southern Wiltshire, £22,119; South West Wiltshire, £67,269; and Tidworth, £21,652.