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Fears raised for future of Staffs youth services

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: January 26, 2014

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PARISH leaders have voiced fears over the future of a youth service if it is overhauled this year.

Ian North, chairman of Winshill Parish Council, said Winshill faced losing its ‘valuable’ youth service in Berry Hedge Lane.

Staffordshire County Council has proposed moving youth provision from a council-led building-based service to one run by voluntary or charity groups.

Winshill would still have a youth service if the plan is approved.

But Mr North said he feared the changes could mean youngsters going without in any transition period.

At the parish council’s latest meeting, he said: “The community could lose a valuable service and we would need to understand where that would be relocated.”

After the meeting Mr North said any transition between services would need to be well thought through.

He said: “It’s a potential concern because it’s an extremely valuable service which deals with disengaged youths.

“Changing the service could have a knock on effect in the long term.”

Mr North spoke after Staffordshire county councillor for Burton Tower Division Conor Wileman (pictured) outlined the potential changes at the meeting.

The county council proposed the changes after revealing just 20 per cent of youngsters in the county used the £8.7 million service last year.

Mr Wileman said youngsters could be more attracted to services such as the Duke of Edinburgh scheme.

He told the meeting: “My personal view is that there’s a stigma attached to local authority provision.

“I think this is the right way to go if we can get enough money and resources for Winshill.”

After the meeting Mr Wileman added: “Of course there are savings to be made, but there’s the potential to get a better offer for young people and that can only be a positive.”

The public can give their views on the plans by visiting www.staffordshire.gov.uk/consultation

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