Dorset

Dorset youth centre cuts planned to save £1m

Twenty two council-run youth centres in Dorset face closure as part of proposals to save £1m.

Under the Dorset County Council plans, youth workers would instead work in other places including schools and skate parks.

The authority said the shake-up aimed to allow staff to "devote more time to children and young people with acute needs".

A public consultation on the proposals runs on until 16 December.

'Vital support'

The council currently spends £2.2m a year on youth services, which also includes supporting other organisations to run youth clubs by providing staff or funding, but said this needs to be cut by about £1m.

In total, the council needs to save £47m of its budget by 2017/18.

The authority said 2,200 people had already taken part in a survey which suggested "only a small percentage of the county's 13-18-year-olds go to a youth centre, which means some of our most vulnerable young people are potentially missing out on vital support".

Toni Coombs, the council's cabinet member for children and young people, said: "Good youth work is about much more than offering young people places to go and things to do. It's about building relationships and supporting those who need help, whether it's with attending school, mental health issues or substance misuse."

She added the authority needed to "spot problems early" before needing to provide more intensive and costly services, such as social care.

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