SWINGEING cuts set to change the face of the youth service currently provided by West Sussex County Council will be debated at County Hall today.
The youth support and development service (YSDS) has already made cuts of £2m following a fundamental review which has been on-going since 2011.
But today far reaching proposals to make 119 members of staff redundant are being recommended to the council’s children and young people’s services select committee.
This is the equivalent of 50 full-timers and means a massive 30 per cent cut to staff in the youth service.
Colin Hughes, who has worked for the youth service in the Midhurst area for 45 years told the Observer: “As far as I’m concerned this will totally change, as we know it, the face of the youth service provided by West Sussex County Council.
“It will no longer provide a service for all our young people. In future it will be targeted towards those who are deemed most in need.”
He said the traditional service provided in youth clubs across the county including Midhurst, Petworth, Rogate, Harting and others would have to rely on support from their communities
“These services will continue to be delivered by volunteers who will need to raise funds to enable their clubs to survive.
“I have been in the youth service since 1968 and it’s sad that the service I came into has almost disappeared. I had hoped things would get better but this has not happened.”
In a report to the select committee this morning director of children’s services Stuart Gallimore tells councillors the staff cuts would save the council another £1.5m a year and together with proposed savings of £0.15 to the non-staffing budget it would mean a further £1.65m cuts to the service annually.
He said the additional cuts would mean the YSDS would predominantly offer services to ‘identified individuals in need or to young people attending specific initiatives. The work of the service therefore would be directed to “those young people with high or multiple need and children who are ‘looked after’ under the remit as corporate parent.” In addition it would continue the statutory duties of the youth offending service.