Somerset

Churches and charities asked to run Somerset youth clubs

Charities, churches and other organisations are to be asked to run youth clubs in Somerset.

The county council is to close its youth services department in April in a bid to cut its youth budget by 75% over three years.

The plans would see about 17 full-time and 54 part-time staff lose their jobs.

The Conservative-run authority is looking to pay other organisations to provide services in 17 parts of the county.

A Unison spokeswoman said the job losses were "decimation".

'Experienced staff'

"There is no youth service," she said. "There's a small core of staff that will be working with community groups.

"In our experience, most of the young people have to pay for activities. It's going to exclude the very people we need to get to."

Jude Adkins was a council youth worker for 15 years and now works for a trust in Dulverton.

She said she thought the change would be successful with community support and a good management committee.

Active Learning and Skills in South Somerset runs clubs previously run by the council.

Director Caroline May said: "Our organisation will look to grow even more, and I think the exciting part of that is there are going to be some very experienced staff who've been working with county youth services and we are going to be able to provide them with continuing roles to work with young people."

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