Holding back the axe over youth club jobs...

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COUNCILLORS want to ease fears that all Calderdale youth clubs are under threat and that jobs will go as a result of spending cuts.

Last month they said that having to save £340,000 over the next two years would mean “some staffing reductions will be inevitable.”.

But their latest advice to council leaders, is that by reducing the number of youth clubs and services, and using the remaining buildings more efficiently “substantial reductions in staffing can be avoided.”

The future shape of young people’s services will be discussed by Calderdale Council Cabinet on December 12.

The key recommendation from a working group is that the youth service should remain universally accessible but should be focused on those who are experiencing difficulties in their lives.

It means that more services will be provided in the areas of Calderdale where social problems are most prevalent.

Children and young people’s scrutiny panel chairman, Colin Raistrick, said the aim was to give a clear direction to the service.

“We need to target it at those young people who need it most, rather than spread our resource too thinly. This will be the most effective use of the reducing budget for this service.”

Councillor Raistrick (Ind, Hipperholme and Lightcliffe) said: “By making much more extensive use of volunteers, commissioning some of the service from outside organisations when they are more efficient and effective, and working in partnership with voluntary organisations, we can make our resources go a lot further.

“We are spending money on maintaining too many buildings, rather than front line services. We need bases in communities that young people use but currently we are not doing this efficiently,” he said.

Other recommendations include developing a strategy so that where it makes sense for service provision or economic reasons some services may be provided by organisations other than the council.

Alternative ways of providing your clubs and services, perhaps though social enterprises and partnerships, are on the card so that some are provided jointly, or from different venues.

Finally, the working group wants to make sure that young people’s services generate money from schools and organisations which use facilities such as the Mixenden Outdoor Centre.