Voluntary groups helping young people across Brighton and Hove have been given a financial lifeline as councillors wrestled with budget cuts.
Before the council’s Policy and Resources (P&R) Committee met on Thursday (22 January), the Youth Collective had expected a £400,000 council contract to be ended early.
But councillors from across the political divide agreed to a rethink. They have asked for alternative proposals to be presented to the next P&R meeting next month.
The contract under review covers the provision of youth work through community and voluntary sector organisations. It was expected to be ended six months early as part of a package of cuts in the coming financial year, starting in April.
The Youth Collective’s lead manager Ben Glazebrook said: “This is good news for community and voluntary sector youth provision and now enables us to deliver services to young people in the city until October 2015.
“It gives us time to look at alternative ways of delivering youth services in the city for the future and to work out the true return on investment that youth providers give.”
The impact of the motion supported by all political parties would be to
Ensure the council retains the current £400,000 contract with the Youth Collective until it expires in October 2015 instead of terminating it six months early as previously proposed. Officials have been asked to identify the appropriate amount of one-off funding to enable this to happen.
Transfer £22,500 – half of the annual combined grant of £45,000 – from the in-house Youth Services budget to Allsorts, BME Young People’s Project and Extratime to enable them to continue providing their services after April 2015, when their current council grant funding was expected to stop.
Examine how services currently provided by Allsorts, BME Young People’s Project and Extratime can be best integrated within the overall Youth Service budget.
Between now and October 2015 hold an open and transparent recommissioning of all council-funded youth services within the agreed budget envelope, with a genuine level playing field for all providers who express an interest in running the contract or contracts.
Whether services are recommissioned or reviewed is still in the balance but the structure of youth services in the city has been given some grace to decide.
Mr Glazebrook said: “The show of support across the three parties for the work of the Youth Collective is very much appreciated.
“The comments and the emphasis that they have placed upon the value services being embedded in communities is encouraging for us all.
“We really want to continue to work with the city council to integrate and deliver the best services that we can and this decision gives us the space to really work things through together.
“It also enables us to talk about the issues facing us all while getting the best of the resource that is there for residents of the city.
“Councillors from all parties should be commended as they have placed the importance of services for young people above politics and they recognise the incredible contribution and social value that the community and voluntary sector makes to our city.”