Alistair Kleebauer, Senior reporter
Friday, January 4, 2013
Half a million pounds of additional funding to keep weekly youth centre sessions, save the borough’s Duke of Edinburgh bronze award scheme and help young people get into work have been identified, according to the deputy council leader.
Cllr Ian Bond and council leader Cllr Keith Prince met with representatives of Redbridge’s Youth Council yesterday to discuss proposals for extra funding.
Youth services in the borough were set to take a funding hit which would have seen a reduced number of sessions at its three youth centres and the end of its Duke of Edinburgh bronze award scheme.
The Youth Council surveyed 1,000 young people on which services they most highly valued.
Maintaining the current provision of youth centre sessions and the DofE award were judged the first and second priorities respectively.
Cllr Bond said: “Our savings programme is going quite well and we’ve been ahead of target on savings so far.
“And we’ve had new government support on school places.
“It’s those two factors that have given us some wiggle room.”
He said a funding reduction of £400,000 to the Connexions service, which works with vulnerable young people who are not in education, employment or training, will now be scaled back to £76,000.
He said: “This will enable Connexions to maintain most of its information, advice and guidance support as well as this year’s opening times, which were due to reduce next year.”
The borough’s youth centres in Huntsman Road, Hainault; Loxford Lane, Ilford and Elmcroft Avenue, Wanstead, provide afterschool clubs, holiday activities and sports facilities.
Weekly sessions were set to decrease from 18 to 12.
The proposals have been informally discussed with cabinet members, according to Cllr Bond, and will be presented at Tuesday’s cabinet meeting.
They will then go forward as part of the budget proposals set to be agreed by a full council meeting on February 28.
Cllr Bond said: “We know that many young people face challenging circumstances right now, and so I am very pleased that we have found extra money to protect the services that they value.”