Shropshire Star

Shropshire youth services plans set to be approved - despite closure of youth clubs fears

Plans to reorganise youth services in Shropshire look set to be approved next week despite concerns that it will result in the closure of youth clubs.


Shropshire Council wants to pull its funding from open access youth clubs and will instead pay for six outreach workers to cover the whole county.

It follows an eight-week formal consultation period on the proposed model which highlighted a number of concerns from town and parish councils.

The new model, once fully implemented in April 2021, would cost the council approximately £365,000 a year, which would include the costs of a team of detached youth workers and support for voluntary sector groups.

Ed Potter, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for children’s services, said: "With an increase in youth crime, exploitation and demand on children’s social care, there is a growing focus nationally on the work councils need to undertake to ensure the most vulnerable young people can access and receive the support they need.

"This new model will enable us to build a trusted and appropriate network of youth support across Shropshire.

"Our aim is to strengthen and grow the current limited offer of support, extending the focus to incorporate Shropshire’s troubled and more vulnerable young people involved in youth crime, at risk of school exclusion and exploitation."

Under the proposals there will be targeted support through outreach and detached youth work.

Outreach workers will meet with young people in need wherever they are, for example schools.

However, the change means pulling the £157,260 funding for youth clubs, meaning the burden for funding and running young people’s groups across the county will fall to town and parish councils – but only if they are willing to take them on.

This has lead to concern from some town councils who fear they will be unable to fund the groups.

The report recommends that further work takes place between Shropshire Council officers and town and parish councils, to agree the commissioning of open access youth support/clubs moving forward.

Shropshire Council has said it will explore models of support to the voluntary sector who currently deliver open access youth clubs, which would include support around safeguarding, as well as DBS checks, training and implementation of appropriate policies and procedures.

It anticipates a budget allocation of £60,000 for this activity.