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Big Changes For Town's Youth Services

Thursday June 20 2013

Cllr Tim Cheetham Cllr Tim Cheetham

BARNSLEY Council have said that three youth centre buildings have been earmarked for closure.

The closures of Darfield C17, Wombwell Highfields Youth Centre and Worsbrough Youth Centre will reduce the amount spent on repairs, maintenance and utility bills. Sales of unused buildings will raise funds and reduce the need to make further cuts to services. 

Cabinet members approved a report which will create a more sustainable youth service across the borough.

Resources will be concentrated in one ‘Youth Hub’ within each of the six area council areas. This will see these six hubs withdrawing from their traditional recreational and leisure roles, instead offering services for young people provided by the council - as well as those provided by partners in the public, private and voluntary sectors.

Cllr Tim Cheetham insisted that the council will continue to meet its statutory duties, but that the impact of the cuts has had a significant impact on the service’s capacity.

"A number of changes will take place," he said. "We have been consulting with young people and stakeholders to make sure that people understand what we’re aiming to do and why we need to do it.

"We simply don’t have the money to provide the existing full range of services across the borough any more.

"We need to be better able to target those young people who need our help most in the areas of greatest need, with the flexibility to respond to changing situations and priorities, while still maintaining some overarching services that everyone can access."

The service consists of the Youth Service (including youth clubs), Youth Offending Team, Targeted Information and Guidance (formerly Connexions), Participation and Inclusion Team, and the Positive Activities Service.

This year there is the need to find a further £1.687million in savings on top of the £1.6million already found since 2011/2012. Future savings in 2014/2015 of £451,000 will also need to be found.

This means that by next year the service will be operating on a budget of 50 percent less than it was in 2010/2011.

The service will lose a further 12 full-time posts and 20 part-time posts on top of those roles already deleted in previous years. There will also be reductions in budgets for staff training and development in order to meet the savings target.

Cllr Cheetham added: "Redundancy, closure of buildings and the reduction of services is never done lightly, but we feel that this is the only option available to us that will allow us to continue providing youth services, admittedly at a reduced capacity.

"However, I should point out that while we're reducing our services, this opens up a number of opportunities for the voluntary, community and private sector to get more involved.

"The new hubs will play a key role in helping identify where the gaps are locally, and will provide access to training, funding advice and support, and toolkits for commissioning local services by local providers, all of which will help plug those gaps."

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Reply Posted by david on Thursday June 20 2013 at 11:04
Maybe less spent on carpeting for gateway plaza one (as mentioned in a previous story) and the like may have made a little more for youth provision!

Reply Posted by Craig on Thursday June 20 2013 at 11:22
Well done British government. Cutting budgets year after year and everything keeps rising. I look out my window and all I see is long grass cause the council doesn't cut the field enuf shame shame

Reply Posted by sheila on Thursday June 20 2013 at 11:39
if the council would stop spending money on these silly sculptures costing billions just to loan then there would be money for these centers

Reply Posted by Andy on Thursday June 20 2013 at 14:53
Whatever happened to the Advanced Learning Centres (the new schools) stopping open while late and allowing young people/adults to access all the sport, media and a wide range of other facilities. Let me guess the schools shut their doors early evening and all the community is left outside the gate. This is why the schools never become part of the community. I drove by two big schools on my way home this evening (Thailand) all the lights were on, the play ground were full of young people playing netball and basket ball.

A new building does not make a advanced learning centre/community school. This only happens when the building becomes the hub of the community. What I hear any way most of the new schools are in special measures.

Reply Posted by David on Thursday June 20 2013 at 21:19
So sad. Barnsley had a Youth Service to be proud of, one of the best in the north of England. I appreciate the ferocity of this governments cuts and the need for all services (especially front-line services) to make reductions but this smacks of political dogma, easy targets to save money without any insight into what (or which) things work. Let's be honest here, these excellent buildings were in the wrong place (ie school sites where the schools have gone) and were therefore given up. LA Youth Services up and down this country work, and have worked with teenage young people, some very difficult and many in need, with great success for many years. Please don't allow the politicians to try to kid us that "partners in the public, private (you are kidding) and voluntary sectors" will ever take on this work without 'cherry-picking' the do-able bits in return for rewarding contracts...and with no money available, the work won't be done.
RIP....a very good Youth Service.

Reply Posted by dannyboy on Friday June 21 2013 at 10:24
Another move away from the grassroots youth work ethos of creating long lasting positive relationships with young people at the most influential part of their lives. I know the youth service wasn't perfect but it does great work with young people in our borough. Even though it is not a statutory service it should at least be elevated in the councils conscience to one of major importance. This is yet another major blow for our young people in Barnsley. Cue the increase in anti social behaviour and nuisance from these terrible cuts!

Reply Posted by stevo on Sunday June 23 2013 at 13:09
I have to agree dannyboy, I always went to the local yoof club and it kept us off the streets and out of trouble.

Reply Posted by Hoyland Red on Friday June 21 2013 at 12:19
And I'm afraid it's only going to get worse. Another 'possible' £30 million from the budget in 2014/15 means this Coalition Government is hell bent of removing all but the statutory duties from Local Government. The problem however is that many people don't realise that much of what the Councils do is not statutory and they have come to rely on these services as 'it's what the Council do'. When they're gone and it will not be long before they are, is when everyone will ask well what now?

Reply Posted by Johnny on Sunday June 23 2013 at 12:04
Not quite sure where your figures are from on the "billions" for sculptures, Sheila. I think you may need to review your sources

Reply Posted by Jan on Sunday June 23 2013 at 12:31
Yes this another step in the Tories -commitment to ensuring the working class know their place in society - very few people who have anything from Local Government / THE COUNCIL - will have it in the future - we are now on a journey our Grandparents experienced - good manners and slavery -poverty -no N.H.S - strong communities - living with nothing in your pocket - Vote who ? --We have to wake up Young people are our future !!!

Reply Posted by Cudworth Mafia on Sunday June 23 2013 at 12:45
It looks like local governments days are nearly over , why bother voting ! Our kid's are treat like they don't matter anymore , who cares . This area has had it no one cares ,our young one's have been to lot's of these things in't holidays for them - the Youth workers were brilliant ! My Father worked down mines for 30 years and always told us that folk in Barnsley Town Hall were were working for us, so vote Labour, I am not sure anymore , god help our kids.

Reply Posted by Tracey on Sunday June 23 2013 at 12:45
Very sad. Have any of these people used the bus station on an evening or passed through the grounds round the civic recently? So many young people with no where to go we need more youth programs not less. Our young people are our future. Youth unemployment at an all time high and you are now going to take something else away from them no wonder they are so disaffected. Stop spending money on your selves.

Reply Posted by HENRY@CAWTHORNE on Sunday June 23 2013 at 13:02
I do understand all of your concern's , however a decent day's work for these young people will help them understand why I have the right to a number of pleasure's I have earned through very hard work. Take them out walking it is for free, plenty of maps in the Yorkshire Post for nothing, we need more military projects training or maybe National service , and the future will be a lot better for all of us.

Reply Posted by david on Sunday June 23 2013 at 16:10
"more military projects training or maybe National Service"...for all the young people, what a good idea....to help this Government I presume because they keep slashing the defence budget and cutting the army to shreds !

Reply Posted by AbeFromPlevna on Tuesday June 25 2013 at 08:16
Interesting that they announce these closures now......seeing as Centre 17 was flattened in January

Reply Posted by John on Tuesday June 25 2013 at 08:17
I worked for Barnsley Youth Service over 11 years ago and this as to be the biggest crime of Tory cuts. The lack of spending on young people's services will come back to bite and bite us hard. Has a well qualified and experienced youth worker for 20 years I can see the good work we have done with some quite damaged kids. I still see done of them now adults in and around town. Dome doing quite well I had. Lets hope that this government will be thrown on the scrap heap next time.

Reply Posted by Woijech on Wednesday June 26 2013 at 00:34
Having come to Barnsley and my son's have attended the youth projects, this kept them out of trouble, now sounds like you have very little , we all need to be together, we have many problems with racism in Poland, sorry you kill something which works to stop, your leader from Council must be very stupid man !