These proposed changes come about directly as a result of the cuts the County Council face, which are forecast to be between 25% and 40%. Cuts like that, especially in a County like Cambridgeshire which is recognised for managing money well and for being efficient, cannot be made without impacting on some services. When the Coalition Government came to power, they inherited a record budget deficit - and these changes can be directly attributed to the measures needed to bring our country back onto an even financial keel.
Wiithin Children's Services, which is my portfolio as a Cabinet Member at the County Council, we have had to go back to basics and recognise that our primary role is to make sure we protect and support vulnerable children and families and to do preventative work which reduces more expensive interventions. Unfortunately, Open Access Youth Clubs don't fit in to that category. That is not to say they don't have a function and they aren't useful, just that with the funding situation we face, they are not affordable. This is not something anyone wants to do, it is forced on us by circumstances.
I have been approached by a number of people asking what can be done to keep the Youth Centre in Whittlesey open. As a result I have asked for some support to investigate the possibility of creating a Trust of some sort that can be used as a basis for fund raising and making bids to try and replace the money that is being lost and minimise the impact of those cuts on Whittlesey - I don't know the detail of this, it is very much a work in progress, but if this is something you are interested in, please get in touch.
Please also get in touch if you have any other ideas and thoughts.