Since 2010, the government has slashed £1 billion from Youth Services nationally. In Portsmouth, there has been a significant reduction in youth provision. Youth Clubs exist in Portsea, Buckland, Somerstown and Paulsgrove/Wymering; there used to be additional provision but this has been cut in recent years having an impact on community wellbeing and cohesion. However, in 2019 and 2020 the City Council has found an extra £500,000 to put into detached youth work in the city provided by Pompey in the Community, the Active Communities Network and Motiv8. This is in stark contrast to Hampshire where the County Council no longer has a youth service.
Cllr Tom Coles who proposed the motion added: “In Portsmouth, we have faced challenges with young people not having a lack of diversionary activities and positive role models, resulting in significant challenges for both the police and Council in locations such as the Hotwalls andSouthsea Common and whilst I welcome the recent standing up of a detached youth outreach service but do not think this is anywhere near enough for the young people in the city. Whilst I appreciate the impact of a decade of significant funding loss due to the ideology of austerity enacted by the Governments of the last ten years, I believe now is the time to be doing all we can to ensure local authorities are able to secure proper funding to be able to provide a proper service”.
You are only young once. Our Young People deserve much better than this. What is needed is money and resources to put support back into our communities, enabling Portsmouth City Council to work with young people to build a system whereby they are safe and secure in the modern world, treated fairly, supported in the present, and ambitious for their future:
- Skilled and equipped to learn and earn
- Positive health and wellbeing
- Active members of their communities
- Happy and confident in their future
Cllr Tom Coles added: “Young people need a Youth Service which is available across the city, not just in targeted areas, to ensure no young people are without the necessary provision to help them become skilled and equipped to learn and earn, become active members of their communities, help them to be happy and confident in their future and encourage positive health and wellbeing”.
To achieve this vision, we as a Council need to be able to provide long–term, stable funding for youth services to ensure all young people have access to high quality youth work provision that matches their needs and the main purpose of youth services provided should be to provide non- formal education through personal and social development and citizenship.
- This Council notes that, in order to provide for those in the city aged between 10 and 19, Youth Services funding needs to be reviewed and increased.
- This Council believes that, like Social Care and Education, Youth Services should be a statutory service of local government and that the Government should be encouraged to make it so.
- This Council believes that Youth Services budgets should be protected, and that the Government should make Youth Services a statutory function of local government in order to protect funding for services for young people.
- This Council requests the Cabinet to protect and increase Youth Services funding within the annual budget as much as possible.
- This Council asks all Group Leaders to write to the Government to request Youth Services is re-categorised as a statutory service and funding is increased and ring-fenced in future budgets.
Cllr George Fielding who seconded the motion commended the work of the council around its work to support the young LGBTQ+ community in Portsmouth and calling out the brilliant work of Sarah Christopher.