Council protects future of youth services in Whitchurch

Youth services in Whitchurch will be protected despite county-wide changes, the town council ensures provision is included in the next budget.

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Whitchurch Town Council passed a motion at a recent meeting to allow for £15,000 funding to be set aside in the 2020/21 budget to be specifically used to retain youth services in the town.

This follows Shropshire Council's plans to pull its funding from youth clubs in April 2020 and to instead pay for six outreach workers to cover the whole county.

The motion was brought to the council by Councillor Andy Hall, who works in the youth sector, and said it was important that the services were retained in the town.

"At the moment, young people have one session a week that is paid for by Shropshire Council but they are introducing potential changes to remove the funding," Councillor Hall said.

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"I think it is imperative, especially with all the county lines stuff going on in the north of the county, that the youth provision should be kept."

Councillor Hall cited issues such as knife crime, grooming, and gang related crime as problems that young people face and why the need for youth workers is vital.

He added: "Some young people might be in some sort of crisis and if there is a youth worker that can point them in the right direction and give them advice and guidance, it will help.

"So I proposed that we set aside £15,000 to cover the short-fall of money from the county council.

"There is a rise in knife crime and in county lines crime because services have been withdrawn.

"It is about protecting our young people in Whitchurch and safeguarding youth work."

Shropshire Council said the changes do not represent cuts to youth provision, but will focus on funding a new model that targets the young people in the most need.

But, town councils will then carry the burden of running and funding youth work in their area.

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