Young people ask questions on cuts

A group of students prepare to undertake an expedition for their Duke of Edinburgh award
A group of students prepare to undertake an expedition for their Duke of Edinburgh award
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YOUNG people have had their say on cuts to youth services in Blackpool.

The resort’s Young People’s Council called a meeting with Coun Chris Maughan, Blackpool Council cabinet member for younger people, to answer some of their concerns over the £600,000 cut to the council’s budget.

Blackpool Young People’s Council chairman Bethany Acton said the group wanted to hear first hand what was going to happen.

She said: “We felt we needed to hear exactly what was happening, and what would be in place instead of what we have at the moment.

“Our biggest issue was what we were going to do once the youth workers and youth service resources were gone.”

But Coun Maughan said the young people had been misinformed, or misinterpreted how the cuts would affect them.

He said: “It’s upsetting how much misinformation was out there, and the young people came with a certain agenda but I believe the meeting was helpful and opened their eyes.”

Coun Maughan said the young people in particular were worried about how cuts to the Duke of Edinburgh (DoE) scheme would affect those currently on it.

He said they believed it was being stopped immediately, but that was not the case.

He added: “We are protecting anyone on that scheme, ensuring they can complete that award.

“If they wanted to go on to the next stage, the school-based youth workers, who are protected, would direct them to DoE schemes occurring within the community or at other schools.

“There will still be a provision in Blackpool, and I think the young people were happy with the outcome.

“My perspective, as a member of office, is I came away feeling I had been able to rectify the misinformation they had.

“I think they came away realising things weren’t as bad as they thought. They thought it was a blanket cut to young work, but it is being protected.”

Coun Maughan told the young people’s council about a pot of £200,000 for social enterprises or community groups to apply for funding to put into youth services.

He said: “We believe the community can deliver what is best for the people who live there.”

Miss Acton, a 16-year-old Blackpool Sixth Form College student, said the young people were still concerned over who would support them in their grant applications when youth workers weren’t around to help, and what provisions would be available next year once the funding had run out.

She added: “We asked questions about the future without these youth services, and we still don’t know very much.

“I think we will need to hold another valuable question and answer session like this one once the cuts have been made so we can get the answers we need.”

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