Youth need our help

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COUNTY councillor Evans claims he is ‘confident’ the Number 18 Project was aware of the youth consultation and how to take part (November 24).

Number 18 is not a person, it could not ‘take part’.

County staff may have been aware of it, but they, to be blunt, have jobs to protect, another 50 to be cut on top of huge cuts already made.

I tell him I did not see the piece of paper sent to Number 18 until almost the deadline, too late to discuss with our voluntary (and independent) management committee, and I saw it by chance lying on a desk.

That is not for him to dispute.

If county is not complying with government wishes, then what is happening and why?

Cllr Evans tells us the youth service is being targeted towards the vulnerable etc.

Does he imagine for one single moment that these ‘unfortunates’ want to be seen dead near such facilities, singled out from their mates?

Youth work as we have seen it run so successfully over the years has been successful because it was generalist and we had staff coupled to actual centres, not some pool to be shoved here and there.

Early intervention?

The voluntary sector INVENTED that and in the context of inclusion of such kids into mainstream clubs activity.

Junior Clubs, unfunded and yet the main source of recruitment into youth clubs, often run by either staff for no pay and/or volunteers from the community.

The history of youth work in this county is littered with such instances, kids brought in from the cold. Kids who went on to avoid many problems they otherwise would have faced.

County refused to acknowledge the reality of needing to start younger years back.

That model, generalist, has the huge advantage that such kids will go along to youth clubs with their mates, not have to be sought out and ‘targeted’, an expensive process it has to be said. That’s scary for most kids, being ‘targeted’.

They want to be like their mates, not packed off to this ‘opportunity’ or the other.

NEETS: the most insulting abbreviation for kids who are victims of a system that has left them at the bottom of the pile usually in school from early years.

These cuts are simply about staff cuts, and that we see youth services subjected for a SECOND time to such a process within months says it all.

He is excited about his New Model Youth Service.

Most of us are appalled at the changes, in the face of good work and practices over decades.

We’ve had our cuts already, and the system is reeling from them. Read the consultation: it is tick-box in nature.

Jan Cosgrove

Acting chair, Number 18 Project Bognor Regis