Hounslow Council plans to move forward with plans to lower its youth services budget, with a provision for a £450,000 transition fund to be spent over the next three years.
On Tuesday (October 10) the council's cabinet confirmed it would stick to its "original" decision, which will lead to the closure of much-loved youth centres and a number of youth projects.
The budget will be slashed to £215k, previously stated as £212k, a reduction of £650k, with the one-off fund used to help services under threat to take on a bigger role in sustaining their future.
Councillor Tom Bruce, cabinet member for education, children’s services and youth services at Hounslow Council, said: “Faced with tough ongoing budget reductions, all council services are having to review how they operate, to save money.
"Youth services are no different and we have spent considerable time considering a future offer.
“This will be less. However, providing the best start in life for the borough’s children and young people is one of our top priorities.
“So, I am delighted that we have been able to ensure youth services are adequately funded for several years during which time the local voluntary and community sector, can gear up to take on a bigger role.”
However the news is likely to cause rumblings in the borough after hundreds of people protested against the cuts earlier this year.
Several Save Hounslow's Youth Centres demonstrations were held, following the launch of a public consultation, including protests in Chiswick and Hounslow town centres to the chants of 'save our youth clubs'.
The changes propose five youth service projects affecting vulnerable young people's groups will remain, while three youth centres will be closed - Hounslow Youth Centre, Hogarth Youth Centre in Chiswick and Hanworth Youth Centre.
In addition, more than 700 people signed an online petition to save youth services and stop the cuts.
The consultation closed in March 2017, feedback was then considered by the council's cabinet before a review was "called-in" to reconsider the original cuts.
Youth service cuts
Engagement with the voluntary and community sector including the management committees of current providers.
Workshops will be provided for all interested sectors of the voluntary and community sector to give them information on the commissioning 8 process before it starts so that they have the skills and knowledge to apply if they want to.
The 45-day staff consultation will begin.
The draft specification will be drafted for sign off
Procurement process begins - the specification will be released to enable interested parties to express an interest in providing an element of the revised youth service offer
Staff redundancy notices will be issued. Staff will be released as services are ready to be handed to new providers.
The procurement process is completed and we will commence mobilisation with new providers (s).
Implementation completed the commissioned services handed over new provider(s)
Start of new service
The following will no longer be funded as part of council's budget for youth services as outlined in July 2017.
- Full time support for the Youth Council and youth engagement
- Funding for the Junior Youth Inclusion Project – which targets young people at risk of youth crime and antisocial behaviour (ASB)
- Support for the Good Shepherd project
- Dance project – Alluminae
- The VOICE projects
- Girls' sessions
- Funding of an accreditation officer
- Senior management and oversight
- A reduction in the number of detached youth workers
- Full-time support for young carers
- Council funding for youth centres which provide universal open access sessions – some universal open sessions will be provided
- A reduction in the funding available for Hounslow Youth Counselling service (HYCs)
- Quality assurance would be undertaken by the procurement team therefore no need for that activity within the service
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