63% Fall In East Sussex Youth Services Budget
Youth services funding has dropped by £468,000 in the last five years.
Across East Sussex, youth services funding has fallen by 63% over the last five years. In 2014/15, the budget stood at £742,000. By 2018/19 this had dropped to just £274,000; a difference of 63%.
In the town of Hastings, youth service budgets have been cut by 36% over the same time period. In 2018/19, they received £84,900 compared to the £133,600 it received in 2014/15. Hollington Youth Centre received 11% of that budget in 2018.
What do people say?
Earlier this year, MPs warned than the closure of youth clubs were putting young people in danger. FOI statements revealed the number of English local authorities supported youth clubs had fallen by 51% since 2011.
The MP Sarah Jones said, “Figures show how in areas where support for young people has been cut most, they are more at risk of violence. Youth services cannot be a ‘nice to have’. Our children’s safety must be our number one priority.”
Barnardo’s chief executive, Javed Khan, said: “Taking away youth workers and safe spaces in the community contributes to a ‘poverty of hope’ among young people who see little or no chance of a positive future. The government needs to work with local authorities to ensure they have enough funding to run vital services and restore children’s sense of hope.”
What is East Sussex County Council’s view?
An East Sussex County Council spokesman said: “Due to reductions in Government funding, increasing demand for services and rising costs, the council has had to make savings of over £130 million this decade, meaning all departments have had to make difficult decisions.
“Despite seeing a considerable reduction in core funding for youth services, we’ve worked hard to mitigate this by working closely with partners and accessing external funding sources where possible. As part of budget savings last year we made the difficult decision to transfer the running of a youth centre that we were no longer able to fund, to a local community college.
“Provision for local young people is now provided by a range of partners including county council youth workers. We fully maintain four youth centres which provide a range of provision delivered by the council and other community partners. Youth work is also provided from a range of other community venues and through detached and outreach programmes.
“Our youth workers do a fantastic job providing much-needed support to young people, targeting those in deprived areas. Our provision, provides space for young people to ‘drop in’, socialise and access information, support and guidance that builds self-esteem and raises young people’s aspirations.”
Why did students cover this story?
Jack, 15, and Bella, 14, from Hastings, focused on this topic “because it is a local issue and may impact us in the future”.