Yesterday I challenged Simon Henig to delay any further cutting of youth service budgets.
Cabinet were deciding on scrapping open access services – youth clubs in effect.
At the same Cabinet meeting the department which is in charge of Youth Services, reported that it had made additional savings of more than £850,000 – unexpected early savings.
It also has £14m in a cash limit reserve not allocated to anything.
I asked that some of these unexpected savings be used to extend open access youth provision to give voluntary groups more time to change the way they work and search for alternative funding streams.
Cabinet members refused. Shame on Labour for ending youth club funding when they have the money to keep supporting them!
In addition to the £14m cash limit reserve in Adult and Children’s dept (now being broken in two), the Council has 50 other reserves of over £150m.
In addition it has a general reserve of £30 million.
Any suggestion from Labour politicians that we need to scrap youth clubs and open access provision right now is utter nonsense.
One Labour cabinet member said that she did not see why other areas should have any youth clubs since her area did not have them and in the past others (councillors etc) had secured facilities in their areas and that was unfair.
A damning indictment on her failure to ensure facilities in her area. This sounded very much like: If I don’t have them then stuff your area you can’t have them – beggar thy neighbour or what!
Whilst Labour politicians couldn’t care less about young people in our area, as your Lib Dem councillors will do all we can to ensure that our area has good facilities.
Over the last few years we have secured funding to upgrade play facilities in Framwellgate Moor, Newton Hall and Brasside, including a new play area at Caterhouse Road and brand new equipment in Brasside.
We also provided funding for Abbey Leisure Centre to have youth gym facilities and have assisted local community centres with funding which has helped local youth groups to have sessions in better quality buildings.
We have helped all our local schools with funding or assistance to improve facilities or provide excursions, local events or projects and this year we are supporting the only major fireworks display in the area at Framwellgate School – You can get tickets from St Cuthbert’s hospice which is managing the event and raising funding for the hospice.
We continue to look for other projects which can help young people in our area, so please let us know if there is something you think we can help with.