Have your say on youth services

County Hall, Matlock.
County Hall, Matlock.

Time is running out to have your say on the future of Derbyshire’s youth services.

Derbyshire County Council’s ten-week consultation on proposed changes to the way youth activities are offered ends March 18

So far almost 3,000 people have responded to the consultation questionnaire, and a variety of consultation events have been held across Derbyshire.

Under the proposals the authority would:

* continue to provide professionally qualified youth workers to support vulnerable young people and families facing difficulties

* no longer provide front-line activities for teenagers and it would close youth clubs and the mobile service

* support voluntary, independent and community groups which already provide most activities

* set up a Youth Activities Grants scheme to support new projects, voluntary, community and independent groups

* review youth centres to transfer or dispose of the buildings.

Cllr Barry Lewis, Derbyshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Young People said: “We’ve hosted events across Derbyshire to explain our proposals and make it clear we do to do more for young people – not less.

“The facts speak for themselves as the way youth activities are delivered in Derbyshire hasn’t changed for decades while the way young people live has moved on considerably.

“We need to find better ways of delivering high quality services, so they’re available when and where youngsters need them.

“Currently our youth services are expensive to run and only 28 per cent of 13 to 19 year olds have made contact with the service – which doesn’t mean they’ve regularly used what’s on offer.

“Many of our activities are supported by our professional youth workers and under our proposals they would continue to support vulnerable young people and families facing difficulties.”

A further consultation event, for young people only, will be held at the Donut Creative Arts Studio (DCAS), in Spring Bank Road, Chesterfield on Saturday, March 17 at 11.30am.

At the next full council meeting on April 18 the proposed changes are planned to be debated.

Councillor Lewis added: “We’re listening to all views raised by this consultation and recognising the good work currently being done with young people by our youth service and the voluntary sector.

“We will carefully examine all the views and a report will be put together for consideration by our Cabinet in May.”

To take part in the consultation visit www.derbyshire.gov.uk/youthservice2012. To request a paper copy of the consultation questionnaire, contact Bish Sharif on 01629 535700 or email bish.sharif@derbyshire.gov.uk Young people wanting to take part in the consultation event on March 17 can contact Caroline McClean at caroline.mcclean@derbyshire or call 01629 536549.