Councillor sees youth work under threat from cuts

November 12, 2010 10:35 AM
Ian Manning

Ian Manning

Newly-elected Cambridge Councillor, Ian Manning has been learning first hand how brutal county council cuts will hit the city's youth work while the county Tories discuss the issue behind closed doors.

Cllr Manning, who represents East Chesterton on Cambridgeshire County Council, discovered how the lives of young people at risk are being turned around by youth workers.

But youth clubs across the county are under threat as the Tory-run county council plans an £800,000 cut to its youth services budget reducing funding by a third.

Tories discussed the issue in secret at Shire Hall in the same week that Cllr Manning was meeting city and county Outreach Youth Workers and the young people they help.

One youth worker told Cllr Manning how reoffending rates among youngsters in one youth group he was working with fell from 30 per cent to just eight per cent. By comparison, re-offending rates in a second group, which he couldn't support because of funding cuts, actually rose.

"I am concerned that the full cost of cutting the service to targeted provision only has not been calculated properly," he said.

"I question whether the benefits of reaching children who are at risk before they fall into the criminal system have been fully costed," he said. "How much will be saved by cutting youth service jobs against the cost of other services, the police and courts, picking the tab if these workers are not there? What about the cost to society in general? Can we put a price on that?"

Cllr Manning added: "I will do everything I can to save these youth clubs."

What would you like to do next?