Support Radstock Youth Club
Support Radstock Youth Centre: Update
Lively demonstration at the BANES Overview and Scrutiny Panel meeting
A large and spirited group of Radstock Youth Club members livened up the Guildhall on Monday night (22 November) as they protested loud and clear about the proposed cut to their Youth Club. They stood outside the Guildhall, chanting in support of this valuable resource, answering questions from the public, and they then moved seamlessly into the room where the Overview and Scrutiny Panel for Children and Young People were meeting.
There they spoke eloquently about the expertise and professionalism of the Centre Manager and her team and they bravely gave very moving and frank accounts of how the Youth Club had helped them in so many ways - getting through drug and alcohol problems, enabling them to get on better with their families, looking at work related problems, giving them space to talk about their worries and enabling them to get valuable insights into how the Youth Club is organised. One speaker described how she'd done work experience there, for example. The Panel were clearly very impressed and repeatedly said that the Youth Club members had done themselves and their club proud. And no-one could have disagreed. For the professional support, the encouragement, the sharing of problems, for the outings and the enjoyment, there was absolute support on 'both sides of the table', so why are the Council thinking of cutting this services from 1.8 full-time equivalent staffing to four hours a week? As the young people said - it's impossible to understand.
Very worrying too, is the knowledge that saving the staffing levels is only the beginning - there seems to be a move afoot to take away the purpose built building and hand it over to some other service - probably Children's Services. This would be a ridiculous move. The centre provides varied spaces where the young people can get involved in group activities and where they can also be guaranteed separate rooms where they can seek confidential help and support.
It is not clear whether the Panel decided to recommend a change of heart or not.
What should happen next?
Radstock Action Group:
- believes that Norton Radstock Town Council and its successor organisation in Radstock should consider very carefully how they can increase their support to the Youth Club
- regards the views and involvement of the young people themselves as central to all plans and will support all moves to get their voices heard
- discovered, in practical terms, just how good a resource the Youth Club is when we worked with members in the summer on our Community Chroniclers film about the railway - members of the Youth Club played an active role and can be seen in the film, as well as playing a role behind the scenes
- thinks the Youth Club will be pivotal in continued moves to promote social cohesion in the town
Everyone in Radstock needs this facility, the young people are the future of the town.
Statement by Radstock Action Group to O&S (Children and Young People) 22 November 2010
Radstock Youth Centre provides a vital professional service to and for young people in the town and the surrounding areas. Radstock Action Group asks this panel to agree to maintaining current provision in the forthcoming financial year.
The effect of the proposed cuts will be reduce provision from one full time professional centre manager and 0.84 ft of professional part-timers to just four hours a week. We would like to draw your attention to the following points:
- Youth work is done by professionally qualified people appropriately trained with skills, expertise and sensitivity
- The Youth Centre is central to the life of young people in the town
- Services, including outreach work, range from emotional, health and social support to activities which promote creativity and social responsibility. They are delivered through workshops on topics such as sexual health, drugs, employment and healthy living. Recreational and creative activities include music, carpentry, cooking, sports and many more.
- There is a welcoming and supportive drop-in programme where young people can seek help on anything that is of concern to them. Staff are there to give professional guidance and, through links with other agencies, can refer young people on if necessary
- But all this will go if these cuts are implemented and Radstock will be left with four hours a week of youth work, which will almost certainly be in the form of targeted provision as opposed to open access. There will be nowhere to go for the young person facing a sudden crisis or simply in need of company and a welcoming environment – a high risk strategy indeed
- We believe that the Youth Centre plays a pivotal role in developing community cohesion and giving young people a sense of identity
- Radstock is continually striving for regeneration and we appear to be looking at a brighter future now, but our young people will be central to this regeneration, just as they will be the beneficiaries or victims in years to come of crucial decisions taken by you now
- There is no doubt a link between anti-social youth behaviour and lack of services – Radstock has virtually no problems with youth anti-social behaviour – within the last year Norton Radstock Town Council invited the police to a meeting. In the course of the discussion, the police said they could not fault young people who were almost always well-behaved and responsive. We put this down to the fact that young people feel supported, valued and part of the wider community, something fostered by the Youth Club
- In the current difficult economic climate, with the shortage of homes and jobs very acutely felt in Radstock, it is essential that we value our young people, we encourage them to feel confident and positive about themselves and their future – closing the one service in the town which is there exclusively for them gives the exact opposite message and can only have a negative effect on their well-being
- Radstock has a purpose built Youth Centre which enables group activity and private/confidential discussions with individuals. We fear that this very valuable facility may be removed and reallocated to other services. We are totally opposed to any such move and ask the panel to ensure that this is not implemented.
Join the protest - support Radstock Youth Club
4.30pm onwards - The Guildhall, Bath
Councillors will be arriving for the Overview And Scrutiny Panel (Children and Young People).
This protest is organised by the young people who use the Youth Club and they want all their families, friends and supporters to join them.
The meeting starts at 5.30 but we need to be there early to talk to people as they go in, so please come along as soon after 4.30 as you can.
Members of the Youth Club will be addressing the meeting and members of the public are allowed into the meeting to listen to the debate. Let's make sure that no-one is in any doubt how important the Youth Club is to Radstock.
Although the Somerset Guardian headline this week might lead readers to think that the Youth Club has been saved, this is not at all certain.
In fact, there is a debate going on about what, if anything, has been agreed. It appears that £53,000 has been found towards youth services next year. But it seems that the interpretation of what the council agreed last week is still up for debate.
But the good news is that at least the whole topic is now up for discussion; BANES is having to think carefully about the issue of virtually scrapping the Youth Service in Radstock and we must redouble our efforts to ensure that the future of this vital service is guaranteed.
The key facts are:
- Radstock Youth Club currently has one full-time youth leader
- She is assisted by the equivalent of roughly 0.75 full-time equivalent youth workers
- They are all professional youth workers
- BANES has to make cuts across all services but Radstock Youth Club has taken a disproportionate hit
- If the cuts go ahead the service will be reduced to FOUR hours per week
- The Youth Club is housed in a purpose built building which we need to defend so that when we've got assurances that youth workers will continue to be employed, then they will have somewhere to work
- Norton Radstock Town Council currently contributes to the funding of the Youth Club; its successor must do likewise
When is the Youth Club open and what does it do?
- The Youth Club is open on Monday evenings, Wednesday afternoons, Wednesday evenings, Thursday evenings; a team works in Clandown Thursday evenings
- Between 25 and 45 young people attend sessions, depending on the time of year.
- Clandown project works from the back room at the Lamb with an average of between 13 to 20 young people attending.
- Activities include: Music workshops; D.J. workshops; Arts and crafts; Sports; Circus skills; Cooking from scratch and healthy life styles; Sexual health workshops; Drugs workshops; Employment workshops; Carpentry workshops.
- The staff always respond to the needs of the young people attending the centre
- They work closely with other agencies to provide a range of services for our young people.
- They run trips regularly these include ice skating, mountain biking, cinema trips.
- They run a mini clinic from the centre in partnership with teenage pregnancy unit.
- The Wednesday afternoon session is for young people who are not in education , employment or training.
- They also run specialist sessions for young people experiencing problems related to Ketamine use.
- They work with young people who are homeless or living in squats.
- Several young people volunteer and are gaining skills and training in sports, youth work; one has trained as a mountain bike leader.
- The club is heavily used by young people who are not at school or in training and employment.
- The club runs the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme at Radstock and recognises and accredits all young people's development and achievements while attending the youth centre.
We cannot afford to lose this wonderful service.
The most recent data show that Radstock Ward has the second highest unemployment level in Bath and North East Somerset; people striving to get into work need the sort of skills and support provided by the professional team at the Youth Club.
Please join the protest - try to talk to councillors as they go in - they clearly don't know the value of the work being done for our town by the Youth team. Our job is to persuade them to change their minds about this unacceptable cut.