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Council leaders refuse to back threatened workers

By Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: March 05, 2014

By Leslie Jackson

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THE district council has refused to back a motion to support under-threat youth workers.

The Post & Times reported last month that 120 youth workers jobs are under threat in proposals put forward by Staffordshire County Council.

The authority intends to make all paid youth workers who run youth clubs redundant and replace them with volunteers.

The plans have raised fears that many clubs could close and young people would be left roaming on the streets with nothing to do.

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Now a meeting of Staffordshire Moorlands District Council district council, which was attended by several young members from Milward Hall Community Centre in Leek, has refused to support a motion was put forward by Councillor Linda Malyon. It urged the district council to show its support to youth workers in the Moorlands and ask Staffordshire County Council to retain them for the work they do for young people.

Mrs Malyon said: "We need to send a strong message to the county council to say stop this.

"Support is needed from the district to keep youth workers in the Moorlands, which is a vast open area with no regular bus service.

"If youth workers are got rid of many youth clubs will close.

"What will happen to young people, as they will have nowhere to go?"

Councillor Gill Heath, who is also a county councillor and a support member of the controlling Conservative run county council cabinet, said that only 18 per cent of young people went to youth clubs, which cost a lot of money.

She said: "The county would give £50,000 to each district each year.

"There are lots of other things out there to do like young farmers' clubs.

"It is up to parents as when you have a child the responsibility does not end at 11.

"Buildings will stay and volunteers will be recruited.

"It has been said we have no bus service, but there is Moorlands Connect."

However, Councillor Henry Jebb said: "More than 10,000 signatures have been collected and a rally has been held to ask the county council to think again.

"The county has spent £74,000 on consultants, but wants to get rid of youth workers.

"If they can find money for consultant they can find money for youth workers."

Leek district and county councillor, Charlotte Atkins, said: "The county council has the cheek to call it 'achieving excellence' by cutting the budget by 75 per cent.

"The youth service is about boosting the confidence of young people."

Councillor Chris Wood pointed out Prime Minster David Cameron had being quoted as saying Britain was a wealthy country, during the recent floods.

He added: "People in rural areas can't get on buses. We do demand that they remove this proposal."

Leek councillor Brian Johnson said: "I don't think the whole of the youth service will disappear as there are people prepared to pick up the slab.

"It is the way of the world. There have always been good volunteers in Leek."

Councillor Margaret Lovatt said: "I am very worried that the service will have to rely on volunteers.

"At the youth club I am involved with people are leaving and they are not queuing at the door to join."

The council agreed to an amendment motion put forward by leader Sybil Ralphs, which said: "This council supports Staffordshire County Council's review to transform its youth offer and the district council's offer to give young people as much information, advice and guidance to the wide range of positive activities that are available.

"This council believes the review will help deliver better outcomes for young people with the resources available, making sure that every pound spent delivers the greatest impact."

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