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Stand up for Young People in Brentwood

November 17, 2013 5:33 PM

County Cllr David Kendall has this message for anyone who cares about Brentwood's young people:

I would urge any Brentwood residents who are interested in the welfare of our young people to take part in the public consultation being run by Essex County Council on the future of the Youth Service and Youth Work in Essex.

If the Conservatives running Essex County Council get their way then the Youth Service which has served our young people in Brentwood so well for many years will be cut to the bare bones and our community will definitely suffer. In 2010 the youth service budget was reduced from £12 million to £5million and the Tories now propose to identify a further £3 million of savings, reducing the spending on these services to £2 million (an overall reduction in spend over the last three years of £10 million or 83%)

I accept that in these tough economic times some savings have to be made but to savagely cut a budget by 83% that is there to support young people across Essex is in my view nothing short of a disgrace and the Tories locally and at County should hang their heads in shame.

When the last cuts were made in 2010 many good professional youth staff were lost for good and the Connexions Youth service went completely, leaving many young people without the guidance and support they so badly needed. These latest proposals will cut staffing levels down to skeleton cover and will rely heavily on local volunteers to fill the gaps. Whilst we should always encourage people to volunteer on youth and other projects many of these people are going to need the back up, support and encouragement of the professional youth workers on the ground if they are going to last the course and have a hope of delivering what is required.

Cllr David Kendall, Prospective Parliamentary Candidate

County Cllr David Kendall

The Tory master plan is to devolve power down to the local Youth Strategy Groups like the one we have in Brentwood. In theory this sounds like an interesting idea but in practice I see major problems ahead because devolved power isn't much good if you don't have the money and the people resources on the ground to deliver the services that our young people so badly need. If that wasn't bad enough In their rush to save money the Tories have conveniently forgotten to address some very serious issues such as Who is going to provide professional safeguarding for young people? Who is going to provide provide professional Health and sexual advice to young people? What is going to happen to the Duke of Edinburgh award Scheme in Brentwood? My request for answers on those points have to date been met with a wall of silence.

If you want to take part in the consultation you can visit the website.