By Ben Glazebrook
Youth services as we know them will cease to exist if budget cuts proposed by Brighton and Hove City Council are voted through.
Those affected include young people in some of our most disadvantaged communities and equalities groups supporting young people who are LGBT, BME or with SEND (special educational needs).
The CVS organisations affected are the Deans Youth Project, Crew Club, Trust for Developing Communities, Tarner Community Project, Brighton Youth Centre, Hangleton and Knoll Project, YMCA Downslink Group, the Young People’s Centre, Allsorts Youth Project, BME Young People’s Project and Extratime.
Community and voluntary sector (CVS) provision faces a 100 per cent in council youth funding.
Our delivery will have to stop. These cuts will see the closure of youth centres across the city, along with the end of youth clubs, holiday clubs, and specific activities for particular groups of young people.
Links with community groups, work with schools, and liaison with local action teams and residents’ groups will end.
Communities across the city could lose valuable community buildings used not just by young people but used by other groups who may also lose their usual meeting places.
Potentially hundreds of volunteers would lose the opportunity to support and contribute to their communities. So many people who receive support to help them manage their lives will see a drastic reduction in service.
They include young people with mental health issues, learning difficulties or disabilities, poor relationship and communication skills, who are homelessness or sofa-surfing, have problems with alcohol and substance misuse and anger management issues.
Not forgetting those with depression and anxiety, low self-esteem or confidence, poor educational achievement, who are currently not in education, employment or training, have experienced family breakdown, are victims of abuse or leaving care.
We provide things like youth clubs, sports and arts activities, street outreach work and joined up training for volunteers.
CVS projects are perfectly placed to effect change in young people’s lives in the city, working with communities and led by young people themselves.
Last year, the Youth Collective worked with more than 2,500 young people in Brighton and Hove. Equalities organisations have worked with hundreds more. Young people attended our youth centres and projects 31,550 times.
And we add value to the youth offer by securing external investment. For every £1 the council spends with us, we secure a further £1 to work with local young people.
We work in some of the city’s most disadvantaged communities including Moulsecoomb, Tarner, Hangleton and Knoll and Whitehawk.
And our amazing team of volunteers contribute around 330 hours a week, or 15,800 hours a year, worth more than £150,000.
We provide an open door that enables young people to access the support that they need.
Our outcomes are unique.
We don’t describe ourselves as an aspiration service, a confidence and self-esteem service, a community-cohesion service, social-wellbeing service, or an employability service.
But our activity contributes to all of these outcomes.
Aspects of our work emerged out of very challenging circumstances for young people in the past. Over the years, the council and the community and voluntary sector have worked incredibly hard together to ensure that there is a strong youth offer here. As a result, there are places to go and things to do across the city.
We are concerned about the bigger impact on communities given the potential impact of the cuts as a whole and the cumulative effect of cuts to services.
We’re at risk of losing something that is almost unquantifiable.
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