1,700 respond to Wiltshire youth activities consultation

Wiltshire Times: Coun Laura Mayes, cabinet member for children's services Coun Laura Mayes, cabinet member for children's services

More than 1,700 people have responded to a review on how youth activities should be provided in the future.

Now Wiltshire Council wants to encourage more people to have their say before the consultation closes on April 14.

The council is carrying out the consultation to hear from communities – particularly young people – on how funding for youth activities can be targeted more effectively and benefit more of the county’s young residents.

Since the 10-week public consultation launched on February 3, teams have been visiting schools, listening to young people at focus groups, talking to staff, voluntary organisations and local communities, and attending area boards to get vital feedback on the future of youth services.

The consultation has 10 days left to run but figures so far show 1,700 young people have completed the online survey at http://sparksite.co.uk/entries/positive_leisure_time_activities_young_people_wiltshire_review, 550 young people have attended the 17 focus groups, schools and youth centres and 21 voluntary and community sector organisations have given formal feedback at a special event held in Devizes.

Coun Laura Mayes, cabinet member for children's services, welcomed the feedback already received and praised young people for getting involved in shaping the future of youth activities.

She said: “We wanted to hear from all communities but particularly young people and I’m really pleased to see so many young people getting involved and giving us their views.

“I’ve been to area board meetings across the county and spoken to people of all ages and I have been impressed by the ideas put forward.

"No decisions have yet been made and I would urge people to have their say before the consultation closes on April 14.”

The views and responses to the four options for the future delivery are being collated and will be reviewed by council leaders at a meeting on May 15 when a decision on future provision will be made.

The consultation asks for opinions on four options for future provision:

  • • Retain the current in-house service but reduce the budget. A number of options would be considered to make the required savings and deliver a service that meets the needs of young people in local community areas 
  • Outsource the service – this option would involve developing a new service specification for the provision of positive leisure-time activities; shaped by key stakeholders, including young people based on the resources available
  • Encourage and support staff to form a Public Service Mutual (PSM). A mutual can deliver a public service involving a high degree of employee control. It can operate for profit, not for profit, charity, social enterprise and community interest company
  • Develop a community-led approach which will empower communities via community area boards, with funding from the council, to develop and make available positive leisure-time youth activities within their local area

The council’s preferred option at this stage is to develop a community-led approach and to tie-in with the emerging campus programme – an innovative scheme which will deliver services which communities want to see in their area developed in multi-purpose, modern community buildings.

The first of these is to open in Corsham at the end of June 2014.

Wiltshire Council will continue to coordinate activities for young people with learning difficulties and disabilities.

To view the options and complete the survey people can visit: http://sparksite.co.uk/entries/positive_leisure_time_activities_young_people_wiltshire_review

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