Cuts ‘will hurt young people’

editorial image

CUTS to youth services could leave a generation of teenagers with nowhere to go and nothing to do.

Fifteen youth workers at the Youth Association (YA) have lost their jobs with funding set to be slashed.

And youth clubs now look set to close, while other services offered by the charity, including could also suffer.

The organisation is based on South Parade, in Wakefield, but works all over West Yorkshire.

Chief executive Andy Clow said most of its funding came from Leeds City Council which he said had been “badly affected” by youth services cuts.

He said: “It’s a tremendous shame. A lot of adults will remember the time they spent in youth clubs, and there’s every chance that these next few generations of young people won’t get to have that.”

The YA launched a football scheme in Ossett last month, but the northwest neighbourhood police team (NPT) has already had to step in and help to run the Friday night activities.

Mr Clow said the YA would need to get “more of a hearing” from Wakefield Council to help it recover.

He said: “It takes time to train volunteers and my real worry is that we will go six months before securing better funding.

“And then there will be more kids with nowhere to go and no-one to talk to.

“But our mission will go on.”

Nigel Richardson, director of children’s services at Leeds City Council, said: “This contractor has provided a valuable service for children and families for many years. However we are under increasing pressure to focus the money we have available to ensure the most vulnerable children are protected.”

A Wakefield Council spokesperson said: “All councils are facing massive cuts, including Wakefield, and we are working with partners and community organisations to protect and promote as many services as we can.”

The YA has provided youth services since 1904.