Budget cut concern for 500 young people who attend Hanham Youth Club

hanham youth clubThe threat of a funding cut to the busiest youth club in the West of England would have a “huge impact” on the 500 young people who use it every week.

That is the warning from Kingswood-based charity Creative Youth Network which has run Hanham Youth Club since 2013 with support from South Gloucestershire Council.

The subsidy it gets – some £40,000 a year – could disappear as the cash-strapped council now looks at ways to make more savings.

Following a major review of council youth services in 2012 three key changes were made. Responsibility for youth centre buildings was transferred to other organisations where possible and funding continued for some youth centre based activity in each of the council’s six priority neighbourhoods, with additional sessions for young people with learning difficulties and/or disabilities.

The council also set up a grant to support community-based organisations provide a wide range of activities for young people. Called the Positive Activities Subsidy, it was approved for three years and set at £437,000 a year. Community organisations have accessed the funds by making bids to the Local Area Forum that covers the area they work in.

The Conservative-led council is now considering not renewing the Positive Activities Subsidy funding after March 2016 but to continue its funding for the centre-based youth activities in each of the six priority neighbourhoods – Staple Hill, Kingswood, Cadbury Heath, Patchway, Filton and Yate & Dodington – and for young people with learning difficulties or disabilities.

SandyCreative Youth Network’s chief executive Sandy Hore-Ruthven, pictured, told The Week In that without the subsidy from the council the charity wouldn’t be able to operate anywhere near the level of service and support at Hanham that it currently does. As a result there would be a “huge impact” on the young people who use the club.

CYN runs a programme of youth services offering opportunities and support to young people, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Hanham Youth Club draws young people from a wide area, including from the priority neighbourhoods of Staple Hill and Kingswood. Its share of the Positive Activities Subsidy pays for the running of the club, with heating and lighting of the building funded from other sources.

Mr Hore-Ruthven said that cuts had been imposed on all local authorities and there was a danger that services that the council was not obliged by law to provide – such as youth services – were easy ones to cut.

Urging people to make their views known to the council, he said he believed the consultation was genuine and it was not yet a “done deal”.

You can find out more and have your say on the council’s website. The deadline is 11th January.