GCC – Young People’s Services and Support.

Giving more support to the young people who need our help the most

Gloucestershire County Council’s Cabinet today gave its approval to transforming young people’s services and focusing support on helping the most vulnerable.

Cabinet heard that there has been interest from communities in taking over many youth centre buildings, and that young people and the wider community have had many opportunities to give their views on how young people’s services might look in the future.

The county council is proposing to target its own services at young people who are identified as being most in need of extra support or at risk of getting into trouble. Funding for prevention activities will be increased by £1.3million.

During the consultation, which started on November 18th, 2010, and will run until February 11th, Cabinet members, Cllr Paul McLain and Cllr Will Windsor-Clive, have been touring youth centres around Gloucestershire. They talked to young people about services they use, heard their ideas on how these could change in future and answered questions.

Focus groups have been held with young people and others have written their views on graffiti walls around the county and on a dedicated Facebook page. Extensive consultation has also taken place with staff, local communities, partners and voluntary sector organisations. There is a separate consultation running on proposals for the future of outdoor and environmental education.

Targeting services at the most vulnerable young people will reduce the need for more specialist services such as youth offending services or taking young people into care.

The council has been running a small number of projects that target young people who are considered to be at risk, such as young people on the fringes of crime, children in care, young people who are NEET – not in education, employment or training – and teenage parents. These projects have been extremely successful and will become the core of the new service.

The county council is retaining a youth support centre in each district as a base for the transformed youth support service, while community groups will be given the opportunity to play an enhanced role in delivering more general youth activities. The hundreds of voluntary and independent organisations in the county have a proven track record in providing these – and they are used by far more young people.

As well as offering youth centre buildings to the community, the county council is making £50k available per district to support local groups to run activities for young people.

Cllr Will Windsor-Clive, Cabinet Member for Community Safety and Youth, said: “It is very encouraging that so many communities have stepped forward to talk to us about taking on youth centre buildings and running activities for young people.

“These proposals will allow us to target funding at early intervention and prevention for young people most risk of getting involved in crime, drugs and drinking. We know from experience that this approach delivers the best results for the most vulnerable young people, with more of them getting jobs and going to university or college.

“It has been really worthwhile talking to young people about what they think of our proposals and hearing their ideas. What became even clearer from these sessions is that targeting resources at the most vulnerable is the right way forward. These young people are the ones who really need the extra support to keep on the right track.”

The consultation on proposals for young people’s services will end on February 11th. The county council’s proposed budget will go to full council for approval on February 16th.

Key facts and figures:

In 2009-10, we devolved £100,000 to districts councils so they could commission organisations to deliver activities for young people in their areas.  This enabled 72 projects to reach 6,279 young people. 
Using this approach, the cost of activities came to £16 per young person.  By comparison, the cost for us to provide a session works out at £140 per young person. £16 per head is the cost to the county council of running activities for young people via the community. There may be additional costs to the organisation running the service.
Under current arrangements, 17% of our budget is spent on buildings.

Issued by: Emma Smith, Gloucestershire County Council Media Team, 01452 426887