Parent plans challenge to proposed Arts Award cut

A worried mother plans to ask councillors why they propose removing funding for a qualification designed to encourage young people back into education.

Atlanta Cook was delighted when her teenage daughter reached the top of the waiting list to participate in the Arts Award qualification which she hopes will help her daughter re-engage with education.

But Brighton and Hove City Council hopes to save £48,000 by scrapping the scheme.

It faced the axe a year ago, when councillors were setting the 2022-23 budget, but it was reprieved after parents campaigned to save it.

When the programme was again listed among proposed cuts totalling millions of pounds in the draft budget for 2023-24, Ms Cook decided to quiz councillors.

She wants to know how they can justify cutting a programme that makes a difference to young people with mental health problems, exacerbated by the lockdowns imposed during the coronavirus pandemic.

Ms Cook said: “We tried to get my daughter into college but haven’t been able to get her to go in. The children are so freaked out by what has happened and won’t leave their room.

“The creative arts are the number one stream where they would get an education. This is it. There is nothing else.”

Ms Cook said that most of her daughter’s friends are also experiencing multiple mental health issues since the pandemic.

She said: “This group had their 15th and 16th birthdays during this nightmare. At this age, they should be going into town and doing their own thing.

“They have arrested development. There are numerous people I am talking with who have children who have been destroyed by all of this – and this is the fallout.”

The Arts Award programme is the only option that Ms Cook believes will work for her daughter. Young people access it through council wellbeing services that they trust – and participants can work at home.

She said: “It’s the only thing I’ve found in the last two years of trying to get my daughter into college. They’re youth workers, not just art teachers.

“They’re skilled at dealing with young people who are harming themselves, trying to kill themselves and are distraught. They feel their lives have been shattered and their dreams taken.”

The criteria for referral to an Arts Award youth worker are

  • The young person has emotional distress that is affecting their education
  • They are not attending school full time
  • They are working with a professional who can refer them
  • If they are a young person in care, they automatically meet the above criteria.
  • They are 12 to 19 years old – or up to 25 years old with SEND (special educational needs and disabilities)
  1. Bear Road resident Reply

    At least the young people will have the consolation of knowing that the £48,000 saved could provide another 96 desperately needed bike hangers…

Leave a Reply


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.