Shropshire Star

Council funding for Shropshire youth clubs is cut amid reorganisation plans

Funding for youth clubs across the county has been cut amid Shropshire Council plans to reorganise the way services are delivered.


The authority has agreed to pull the £157,260 funding from open access youth clubs and will instead pay for six outreach workers to cover the whole of Shropshire.

Town and parish councils will be asked to step in and fund them, or the clubs will face closure.

Speaking at Shropshire Council's Cabinet meeting, Councillor Ed Potter who is responsible for children's services, said: "We want to reach as many young, vulnerable people as possible.

"The plan is for us is to pull our funding we currently have for open access youth clubs and increase it by £82,000 to deliver a new outreach model across the county.

"To enable us to do this, we have been in conversation with town and parish councils to ask them to take on open access youth provision. Many towns and parishes have come forward saying they want to provide their own provision in their communities.

"It will allow us to free up some funds and carry out more targeted, specialist work with the most vulnerable people."

However leader of the Lib Dems, Councillor Roger Evans, said he has concerns about the pressure it will put on town and parish councils.


"The report says there will be a phased withdrawal of funding," he said.

"But town and parish councils have already set their precepts so how they are going to consider funding it I don't know.

"It also says there is going to be a trial with two or three parish councils beginning in April.

"I'm not sure which these are because they are not listed but I do hope it's some that have said they are unable to fund it and may well lose their youth clubs.

"I understand some of the reasons it's being supported but it's being done in too hurried a way. Town councils need to be talked to properly, not just handed these things over."

Councillor Potter assured it has been a long and well-considered proposal.

Out of 14 youth clubs at risk, eight local councils have come forward and have agreed to take over the provision, according to Councillor Potter.

He said the authority will work with the remaining six clubs over the next year to ensure they remain open.

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