Plans to shut nearly every Walsall youth centre will leave thousands of the town’s young people with nowhere to go, Unite, Britain’s biggest union has warned in a letter to the top chief.
Unite, which represents the council’s youth workers, has written to the leader of the council Sean Coughlan urging decision-makers to re-think plans to slash the youth budget in two, by axing more than £1 million over two years.
The planned 48 per cent cut to the council’s youth service budget will see youth clubs closed, dozens of youth workers sacked and spell the end of universal youth services open and accessible to all Walsall’s young people.
Unite is calling for urgent talks to safeguard the future of Walsall’s youth service by securing a commitment to ringfence funding and the protection of qualified youth workers.
Colenzo Jarrett-Thorpe Unite national officer for youth, community and playworkers said: “Unite is urging the council to think again. These cuts will rip the heart out of services that thousands of young people depend on. Now is not the time to sacrifice Walsall’s youth service, on the contrary we need to invest in young people.
“Over 3,000 young people responded to the council’s recent consultation with 74 per cent calling for no youth service budget cuts. But rather than listen the council is ploughing ahead with its destructive cuts agenda.
“The very future of Walsall’s youth service is at stake. The planned 48 per cent cut in council funding will destroy Walsall’s youth services, leading to the closure of nearly every youth club. Thousands of young people will be left with nowhere to go.
“Unite believes the current consultation has been inadequate and will campaign to demand councillors and decision-makers in Walsall think again and consider alternative suggestions for a better youth service that works for all young people.”
For more information please contact, contact Colenzo Jarrett-Thorpe Unite national officer on 07771 656 692 or Unite campaigns officer Chantal Chegrinec on 07774 146 777
Note to editors:
Walsall metropolitan borough youth budget cuts proposals include:
- The closure of universal access and open provision of youth services in Walsall in favour of target provision which is not open to all of Walsall’s young people.
- A cut in the youth budget of £1,070,000-a cut of 48% of youth services budget over two years.
- Dozens of full time and part time youth workers are set to lose their jobs.
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Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey