Shropshire Council’s Cabinet will consider a new way of delivering youth support services across Shropshire at its meeting next week (Wednesday 22 January 2020). It follows a consultation held late in 2019 into youth support in the county.
Under the proposals there will be both targeted support through outreach/detached youth work – ie. meeting young people wherever they are, in schools and in places where they choose to congregate – and open access clubs, whilst building a trusted and appropriate network of youth support across Shropshire.
It is proposed that town councils and parish councils fund local open access youth groups. These are currently funded via the Local Joint Committee commissioning arrangements and Shropshire Council.
The council would provide funding for a team of youth workers to provide an element of detached youth work across the county, focusing on our more troubled young people involved in youth crime and at risk of exploitation.
The proposed model of youth support would cost Shropshire Council £365,000 per year.
The model would be implemented gradually, initially by employing a strategic lead and a team of detached youth workers, working with the town councils who have expressed an interest in this partnership approach.
Ed Potter, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for children’s services, said: “With an increase in youth crime, exploitation and demand on children’s social care, there is a growing focus nationally on the work councils need to undertake to ensure the most vulnerable young people can access and receive the support they need.
“This new model will enable us to build a trusted and appropriate network of youth support across Shropshire. Our aim is to strengthen and grow the current limited offer of support, extending the focus to incorporate Shropshire’s troubled and more vulnerable young people involved in youth crime, at risk of school exclusion and exploitation.”
The new model was broadly supported in the consultation, but some concerns were raised, especially from town councils, parish councils, and from the voluntary and community sector.
The gradual implementation – proposed by a cross-party task and finish group of councillors in response to concerns raised – will allow more time to work at a local level with town councils and parish councils, and to work with the voluntary sector to redesign and implement a revised package of support for the voluntary clubs.