Birmingham, Newcastle and North Lincolnshire

Birmingham City Council has published a consultation document outlining £110m of savings for 2013/14. This includes cuts of more than £23m from its children, young people and families budget, with voluntary sector services for children and young people seeing a £4.4m reduction as well as reductions to youth services and CAMHS. The West Midlands Social Work Action Network has said there has been a lack of consultation on plans to cut local child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) funding by two thirds and children’s preventative services by 38 per cent.

Newcastle City Council has said it needs to find an extra £10m worth of cuts, on top of the £90m it already had to find. The Evening Chronicle reports that the council “is being forced to close libraries, swimming pools and cut youth services”. A letter to the Guardian said that Newcastle is also making a 100% cut to arts funding and closing 11 of its 18 public libraries, as well as reducing the play and youth services, “leaving children and young people without leisure, cultural or community facilities.”

North Lincolnshire Council is proposing to outsource the majority of existing youth service provision. Council documents seen by CYP Now “suggest the plans will save the council £150,000 during 2013/14 and result in an equivalent loss of eight full-time youth service posts, affecting 74 part-time staff in total.” A youth-worker’s blog said that the council plans to offer grants of £10,000 to applicants who want to run services. The council said that overall the youth services budget would stay as £600,000.


Youth work in Yorkshire

The Youth Association, Yorkshire’s youth work charity, has published details of Freedom of Information requests to all of the councils in the region. They reveal that “cuts to youth services over the last 2 years have been well in excess of the general level of cuts imposed on councils by the Chancellor, and the real cuts to proper open-access youth work (what we, you and everyone recognise as youth work) has driven it close to extinction.” Cuts to youth services in Sheffield, Rotherham and York have been above 25%.  The Youth Association notes that “councils are no longer able to calculate their actual spending on open access youth projects and clubs offering youth work” and figures councils are using instead refer to “integrated youth support services, (including careers advice, YOTs and targeted work with young people at risk).”

Youth music charity closes

Sound It Out, a Birmingham-based music charity and NCVYS member (and former Youth Action Network member), is to close at the end of August after losing annual funding of £100,000 from the Arts Council. Sound It Out has used music as a medium to make a real difference to people facing challenging circumstances for the last 20 years. Sound It Out works with a wide range of marginalised individuals and communities, including children and young people in challenging circumstances (including deprived communities, at risk of offending and anti social behaviour, ex-young offenders, young people not in education, employment or training).

Overview of the impact of cuts on local organisations

NAVCA has published a report collating local state of the sector reports produced by NAVCA members to provide an overview of the impact of cuts on local charities and community groups. The report includes the findings of a NAVCA members’ survey, carried out in May, showing how cuts are also affecting the support available to local charities. The report establishes several key trends emerging from local surveys of the sector conducted by NAVCA members:

  • The majority of local charities and community groups have suffered cuts, although some areas are suffering more than others.
  • Local charities and community groups are facing increased demand for their services and a significant proportion say they are unable to meet these demands.
  • Children and young people’s organisations are consistently reported as being particularly affected by cuts in funding. In many areas, organisations that work with the most deprived communities have also faced significant cuts or are likely to do so in the near future.

North Somerset legal challenge fails

The  BBC has reported that a legal challenge launched against cuts to young people’s services in North Somerset has been dismissed by a High Court judge. The action was brought on behalf of 21-year-old Aaron Hunt, who claimed the council had breached the Equality Act by failing to consult properly on youth service cuts of 71 per cent over the next three years.

Kent, Somerset and North Somerset

CYPNow has reported that Kent County Council has revised its plans on the future of youth services and has pledged to provide more youth workers in schools and provide a new youth centre where an existing youth centre is set to close. This follows a consultation which received more than 700 responses.

CYPNow has reported that Somerset County Council has also revised its plans following a consultation. An additional £100,000 has been set aside to fund voluntary groups to provide youth services (taking the total to £1.3m). The report says that the withdrawal of direct youth services has been put back until 2014, with two youth centres remaining open until then.

The bid for a judicial review into North Somerset Council’s plans to cut youth services by 70% in Somerset has been granted.

Somerset and Gloucestershire

Bath and North East Somerset Council is to increase funding for children, young people and families from £11.21m to £11.46m. The increase will see extra funding going to local youth projects and an extra £13,000 to the council’s youth enablement fund for youth groups.

North Somerset Council is facing a judicial review over cuts to youth services. “Public Interest Lawyers Ltd (PIL) is representing a resident of North Somerset in a judicial review of North Somerset Council’s decision to cut Youth Services provision by over 70% between 2011/12 and 2014/15… The Claimant contends that North Somerset Council failed to thoroughly evaluate the impact and long-term sustainability of community-run youth services and that it failed to adequately consult the users themselves or even to make them aware of the scale and impact of the proposed changes. He also argues that the Council breached its statutory duties under the Equality Act 2010 in failing to give due regard to its obligation to consider the ‘protected characteristics’ of a number of service users – characteristics such as disability, gender and race.”

South Gloucestershire Council is consulting on plans to reduce the number of children’s centres and stop running youth clubs as part of plans to target services to the most vulnerable children, young people and families. The council said that only 20 per cent of young people regularly visited the 13 youth clubs that the council runs. Some councillors are opposing the plans.