Shropshire Council to continue to fund youth clubs in Market Drayton until 2021
Shropshire Council is to continue to fund the provision of open access youth clubs in Market Drayton up to 31 March 2021, meaning the current provision – two sessions a week at The Phoenix Centre – will continue until that date.
Under new arrangements, agreed by the council’s Cabinet in January, it had been hoped that Market Drayton Town Council would take on the responsibility for funding and providing open access youth provision for young people in their area from April 2020.
However, an agreement has yet to be reached and Shropshire Council will continue to fund the clubs whilst working with the Town Council to secure an agreement.
Ed Potter, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for children’s services, said:
“At the moment we can no longer be sure that Market Drayton Town Council will and can fund youth clubs in the town. We’ve therefore taken the decision to continue to fund activity in the Market Drayton Town Council area up to 31 March 2021. We will continue to work with the Town Council in the meantime to secure a firm agreement for April 2021 onwards.”
The new way of delivering youth support services across Shropshire was agreed by Shropshire Council’s Cabinet in January 2020.
Under the new arrangements there will be both targeted support through outreach/detached youth work – ie. meeting young people who need support wherever they are, in schools and in places where they choose to congregate – and open access clubs, whilst building a trusted and appropriate network of youth support across Shropshire.
Open access youth clubs are currently funded via the Local Joint Committee commissioning arrangements, but Shropshire Council is now looking to town and parish councils to fund them. Shropshire Council will also provide funding for a team of youth workers to provide an element of detached youth work across the county, so that funding can be redirected to target those who are most vulnerable.
In January Cabinet agreed to adopt a phased approach to the transfer of funding open access to youth provision. Where town and parish councils currently in receipt of Shropshire Council funding have not yet committed to fund such youth provision themselves, Shropshire Council will continue to fund the existing provision up to the end of March 2021, whilst negotiations continue.
In contrast, where town or parish councils have committed to take over the funding of the current youth provision, Shropshire Council will move away in order to gradually implement the outreach/detached model that was widely consulted upon and then agreed by Cabinet.
The Cabinet decision was ‘called-in’ for consideration by Shropshire Council’s performance management scrutiny committee last month, where the commitment set out above was reiterated.
Ed Potter added:
“I firmly believe that this new approach to youth support is the best and right one. A great deal of time and work has been spent agreeing this new model and making sure it’s the best way forward for the council and, most importantly, our young people.
“I want to reiterate that what this is not about reducing open access universally available youth clubs, but is about increasing the range of support available. And Shropshire Council’s budget for youth support has not been reduced – in fact it has been increased.
“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.
“This new model will enable us to build a trusted and appropriate network of youth support across Shropshire.”