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TomJenningsMYP

Youth services and Youth Provision and Young people.

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?We must be children focused.? - Deputy council leader Keith Bland.

 

In 2009 OFSTED found Warrington's Children's Services to be "failing vulnerable children" and deemed them to be at "significant risk".

 

The Council increased the Children and Young People's Services budget by ?2.3million to better the service and a year later, OFSTED found 23 of their targets had been met, with 500 cases having encouraging results.

 

However only a year later, the Council proposes to make ?1,073,000 savings in the Children and Young People's Services in the period from April 2011 to March 2012. With a further ?1,410,000 saving proposed to be made from April 2012 to March 2015.

 

So far, it has been released that 71 existing posts are to be 'disestablished' with 97 staff to be placed at risk. This will create approximately ?800,000 of savings.

 

So within the next four years, they wish to cut almost ?2.5million from the Children's and Young People's Services budget. Which is more than what they put into the service only a year ago!

 

 

Connexions, another Youth Service, was set up to give the very best advice and aid on education, careers, housing, money, health and relationships. They did this by working along side the Youth Support Service in running Young Mum's groups, Alternative Education projects, Alcohol and Drug abuse support groups, Support groups for those on the verge of criminal activity, Youth groups and Youth Forums, and Looked After Children's groups. Connexions also work within schools where they have personal advisor's for young people go to, to receive any support they need.

 

Connexions Warrington has lost ?530,000 from its Budget due to Local Authority decisions. This has resulted in 47% of the workers being let go, with many remaining workers reducing their hours in order to prevent more job losses.

 

The Connexions Service is now only to provide careers advice and has since split from working along side the Youth Support Service. Connexions Warrington, located opposite the Golden Gates is now closed on a Saturday. (And when are most young people in town?)

 

A second round of cuts for Connexions Warrington is to be done close to March 2011.

 

"We must be children focused.? - Deputy council leader Keith Bland.

 

 

The Coalition Government claims that its in the national interest to tackle the deficit, and cuts are going to have to happen.

 

But let me ask you this;

Is it in the interest of a young mother, when her support group has its funding cut?

Is it in the interest of an excluded pupil to lose his opportunity of alternative education due to the cuts?

Is it in the interest of a drug addict, when his one on one support is stopped due to funding cuts?

What about when a Young person on the verge of criminal activity, has their one on one support stopped?

When Youth groups can't go on due to loss of funding, is it in their interest?

But most importantly, is it in the interest of Young people, who can't even vote at elections, to have cuts as deep as these in their support services?

 

We must be children focused.

 

 

Tom Jennings MYP for Warrington South

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A small question.

How did the world go round BEFORE all this happened? The council screwed up the Youth Service years ago.

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A small question.

How did the world go round BEFORE all this happened? The council screwed up the Youth Service years ago.

 

God knows, but what annoys me, is that I've met Keith Bland and discussed the above with him at the "Speed debating" event they held at the Town hall a while back and he took down my details so he could set up a meeting with me. Yet I've heard nothing from him since and this was a few months back as well.

 

Time to start making a few phones calls I think :wink:

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Tom... keep the pressure on them and don't take their polite token gestures or seemingly 'concerned' expressions of interest as meaning they actually care or will do anything.

 

Sorry if that sounds a bit rude towards them but I say it from past experience and having many dealings, chats and meetings with some of them myself all in a past life :?

 

With your knowledge and skills, especially in the written way... you should be able to give them a really good run for their money so to speak :wink:

 

PS You don't look like I thought you would look by the way... nice guitar too :wink:

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Havn't you folk heard? Instead of folk (especially rich folk) paying taxes to employ other folk to provide such public services, who in their turn would be paying taxes: what we're expected to do now is, give to charities to provide said public services, and the unemployed can then work in them for NOWT - makes sense, if your a Tory! :wink:

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Is it in the interest of a young mother, when her support group has its funding cut?

 

Why should a young mother need a publicly funded support group? Where is the father. Where are the child's grandparents? Where are her friends?

 

Is it in the interest of an excluded pupil to lose his opportunity of alternative education due to the cuts??

 

The pupil was excluded for a reason. A very serious reason, given how hard it is to exclude a pupil these days. Actions have consequences.

 

Is it in the interest of a drug addict, when his one on one support is stopped due to funding cuts?

 

In order to have become a drug addict, this individual has made a series of informed choices to become a habitual criminal at some point. Why should one on one support be provided free of charge as opposed to, say, a nice long stretch of cold turkey and sewing mailbags?

 

What about when a Young person on the verge of criminal activity, has their one on one support stopped?

 

As above. Don't do it, or go to jail. Their choice.

 

When Youth groups can't go on due to loss of funding, is it in their interest?

 

The parents could always contribute or - god forbid - the kids themselves could fundraise. Just like Scout and Guide groups, Boys Brigade, ATC, and any number of Youth bands and Youth sports groups do.

 

But most importantly, is it in the interest of Young people, who can't even vote at elections, to have cuts as deep as these in their support services?

 

Can't vote - and also aren't asked to pay.

 

Sorry, but times are hard. the bleeding hearts and socialists have given away all the money and there's none left.

 

Chin up, it could be worse. You could be cleaning chimneys!

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So you want an uncaring society without support for those who need it most?

 

Maybe if you met with some of the people your negatively talking about, you'd think differently.

 

We need a Government that sees the potential of people and see's the need for giving someone help and support to get them on the right track, rather than looking at the costing side of things first.

 

But Most importantly we need to make sure our Social services stay cared led, instead of business led.

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Tom...

 

What sort of youth provision do you, as a youngster yourself, think should be provided in Warrington ?

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Hate to say it, but Inky has just reminded us of the reality - high levels of public service require high levels of taxation, hopefully based on our Nation's ability to balance it's books and increase it's GDP. :roll: What the Government are now doing is "nudging" folk into giving to charity and working for nowt - sort of "new" Dickensianism! :wink:

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So you want an uncaring society without support for those who need it most?

 

No, but I also don't believe in pandering to people who refuse to take responsibility for their own actions and expect someone else to pick up the tab.

 

Maybe if you met with some of the people your negatively talking about, you'd think differently.

 

Careful there son, maybe if you weren't so quick to make assumptions about someone you've never met just because they don't agree with you, you'd have an easier time garnering support for your cause.

 

 

But Most importantly we need to make sure our Social services stay cared led, instead of business led.

 

The difference between "Social" services and businesses is that "Social" services never deal with problems with a view to arriving at a final solution - they only ever perpetuate problems by constantly prevaricating and coming up with weak, ineffectual action plans, which are never implemented or enforced anyway. (and it's in their interests to do so. This way, a couple of dozen problem cases can keep a whole department in long term jobs until pension time).

 

ALL publicly funded services - which are immune from the effects of competition and customer choice - should constantly DEMONSTRATE that they provide better value for money than any other funding model.

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Tom, Society needs changing. Until that gets back on the straight and narrow, the problems will just multiply.

Keep up the battle and don't let up on the councillors. They talk the talk, but don't walk the walk.

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Tom...

 

What sort of youth provision do you, as a youngster yourself, think should be provided in Warrington ?

 

With Youth Provision, WBC are given roughly ?1.6million (or so I've been told) to spend on Youth Provision. However its not statutory for the Council to spend any of that money on Young people at all. And so just like the Youth Opportunity Fund, (Which is ?100,000 grant that young people can apply for bits of, to set up youth events and projects) that money has now been taken away as part of the huge budget cut.

 

Now most young people just want somewhere to go, out of the whether, where they can get a cup of tea and chill out with their friends. And the best option for that is a Youth Club or Youth Cafe.

You may have read in the article about me this month, about IMPACT campaigning for 2 years now for a Youth Cafe in the Town Centre, but the Council are yet to come forward with a decision sadly.

 

But there are tonnes of activities the Youth Service set up for young people, but it just isn't advertised enough. So young people don't know anything about it and the activity along with the money spent on it, is just wasted.

 

The Youth Carnival, in connection with Warrington Music Festival, was a great Youth event provided by the Youth Service. There was literally thousands of young people who turned up and came by throughout the day, taking part in all the activities that were there. And most of the bands that played were all under 18 bands, so it gave young people a chance to show their talents and get recognition from their peers. But this happens only once a year, so it would be great to see more of these events happening throughout the year.

 

But all in all, I believe that whilst fundraising doesn't harm anyone, there should be grants available to apply for. Because there are numerous young people willing to put the effort in, to set up projects and events for other young people to enjoy.

 

But also the Youth Service should be applauded for their efforts in making sure young people have something to do and somewhere to go. Because if it wasn't that some people are concerned about the costs of it all, people would only be moaning about some harmless teenagers hanging around their streets, most of us causing no trouble at all.

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Maybe if you met with some of the people your negatively talking about, you'd think differently.

 

Careful there son, maybe if you weren't so quick to make assumptions about someone you've never met just because they don't agree with you, you'd have an easier time garnering support for your cause.

 

 

 

I'm sorry but considering how you talk about those vulnerable groups of our society, I didn't get the impression that you know them very well because you'd certainly sing a different tune if you did.

 

I understand that times are hard and that the money has gone, and also that this Government doesn't mind the odd billionaire to dodge a few million in taxation.

 

But no your right. Chin up, because it could be worse.

You could be part of the 97 staff who are at risk of losing their jobs when they have mouths to feed, or the 53% of Connexions workers who had to reduce their hours to save some of their work colleagues, when they know full well another round of job losses are coming in just a few months time.

Or you could be one of those vulnerable groups, who made mistakes in lives and just that little push in the right direction.

 

I wouldn't call myself a bleeding heart because I believe in helping the most vulnerable, I'd call that being human.

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Tom,

 

when I was younger, I grew up in Bewsey. Bewsey in those days had nothing except a school and a couple of shops and a tatty old council park.

 

We didn't have inward investment or leisure centres or cafes or youth workers...... our parents did most of that stuff and what they didn't or couldn't do; we did ourselves and yes we fund raised too!.

 

One thing we did have however was St Albans Youth Club which I believe was part funded by the church and run by an old couple called Mr & Mrs Wells and a big guy called Les who acted as security!! We paid for games of pool on a tatty old second hand table, watched TV on a tatty old second hand TV and bought cups of tea and coffee to provide additional funds to keep the place running. Once or twice a week we had a disco and kids would come from all over town (Now you say things aren't advertised enough these days, but it only should take one person to know for it to spread everywhere because every kid has a mobile, a lot have facebook etc....)

 

Mostly, our youth club was great..... I was a punk rocker, there were heavy metal fans, mods etc; but very little trouble all because a little old couple and a big soft fella called Les kept it all running beautifully.

 

The problems I see today are like this....

 

There is no respect for older people anymore because the young ones all want respect back as part of the deal; that doesn't work because the young ones all see themselves as equal or better to those trying to help them. AKA the respect we had for the couple running our youth club was what kept all the trouble away because no one seemed to want to upset the apple cart and if they threw you out, you stayed out!

 

The youth of today seem to want something for nothing all the time;

there should be grants available to apply for
....why should there be grants available? the youth or their parents should cough up; not the rest of society....

 

 

Finally, you said

it just isn't advertised enough. So young people don't know anything about it and the activity along with the money spent on it, is just wasted
as I pointed out above; kids with phones and facebook should be all that is needed; I would counter they don't get used because the majority of kids probably don't want anything to do with it!

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Baz J

 

A lot of what you said in that post was true and your youth club sounded great, but as a teenager I object to such a sweeping generalisation. So many teenagers would and do have that kind of respect for elders but are never given the chance because in the media and in forums like this we are stereoptyped as hoodied ASBOs. If adults contuinually pigeon hole teenagers like this resentment between the old and young will escalate, incidentally, this leads back to Toms original point-It is youth workers that many teenagers respect, often they come from similar backgrounds, similar social situations and never make judgements on the youth that they work with. I know it is a familiar point that I am making but pick up a newspaper and see for yourselves: if a 21 year old does something good, they are called man or woman, if a 21 year old does something bad they are known as a youth.

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Good points Baz. But Tom is between a rock and a hard place. Sadly officialdom took over the leisure time and personal problems of the young and decided to provide whatever was necessary.

There came a reliance on these services, and now the rug has been pulled out firmly from beneath there feet.

 

What does amaze me is that Tom says the Youth Service does a good job.

Not South of the town they don't. They do nothing. The only thing going on at the moment, apart from what V Talent do, is the Friday nights at Broomfields which is very popular. This is run by the PCSO's and the Churches. Nothing to do with the Youth Service.

The Orford Youth Base is good, but what else is there?

Victoria Park had a thriving Youth Group of which one of Tom's predecessors was a member, but that has died a death through no commitment from the Youth Service who when they joined up with Connexions spent two years re-inventing the wheel and thus lost momentum. :roll:

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Have to agree with you re South of the town... there's nothing round here for youngsters to do or to get involved in.

 

It's ok if they are in 'groups' as they just wander around together but for those who are not 'groupies' there's nothing.

 

Saying that even if there were clubs etc probably only those in the groups would venture there for a nosey and it would probably only hold short term interest anyway as kids get bored with stuff far too easily these days.... so wasted money perhaps ?

 

I recon they should turn the old MFI building on Wilson Patten Street into a huge big youth club... or better still a huge roller rink like we used to have when we were teenagers ...and when the kids get bored of it us adults can have some fun :D

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Baz J

 

A lot of what you said in that post was true and your youth club sounded great, but as a teenager I object to such a sweeping generalisation. So many teenagers would and do have that kind of respect for elders but are never given the chance because in the media and in forums like this we are stereoptyped as hoodied ASBOs. If adults contuinually pigeon hole teenagers like this resentment between the old and young will escalate, incidentally, this leads back to Toms original point-It is youth workers that many teenagers respect, often they come from similar backgrounds, similar social situations and never make judgements on the youth that they work with. I know it is a familiar point that I am making but pick up a newspaper and see for yourselves: if a 21 year old does something good, they are called man or woman, if a 21 year old does something bad they are known as a youth.

 

Very good points JennyG and now you mention it I see what you mean about newspaper reporting 'techniques'.

 

There are far more decent teenagers around than trouble makers but unfortunately people only ever hear and remember about the 'bad' ones and not the 'good' ones.

 

It's sometimes so hard to differentiate between the good and the bad though. Dress code of the lads doesn't help either ie hoodies up faces half covered and loudish boyish behaviour.... it sort of gives an imression of 'trouble' even though the majority of the time they are great kids.... and the girls well often they are worse than the lads and some of them need their mouths washing out with soap.

 

Problem is you only find out which are the grots when it's a bit too late so some people tend to be wary and class them as all the same 'just incase' :?

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Good first post JennyG.

You mentioned something that I find non-productive, (maybe my age), but you say the Youth Workers don't judge. To my way of looking at things, there is nothing wrong in judging and pointing out when people are doing the wrong thing. The technique is the way in which it is done.

We ALL need rules and discipline to maintain a civilised society, and one of the problems of today is that everybody looks the other way instead of telling and then advising. Surely you don't respect someone because they don't comment on a situation?

 

Also I don't believe that you are all classed the same. In the Town Centre maybe, because of its drink/drug history.

The problem isn't only confined to the youth. A lot of adults have serious behavioural problems as well.

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Jenny,

 

some valid points in your response, however if I may rewind the clock back to the late seventies and early eighties; I was pigeonholed because I was a Punk. Just take a look at the press we got back then and you will see that things haven't changed that much.

 

The problem today is that people like Tom all have good intentions, but they always want someone to foot the bill...... we want a skatepark, we want youth workers, we want somewhere to go and drink coffee....... back in the day, we used to go and sit in BHS cafe and drink coffee....(usually one cup between 3 or more because we didn't have anywhere near the disposable income the kids do today I hasten to add....I could only afford to start smoking when I got my first job!!)

 

I agree that something needs to be done, but starting off with a list of demands and automatically expecting respect just does nothing for me.

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What did you do Obs... some of us are not that old so we can;t relate to your era and the dinosaurs :wink:

 

We used to hand round the park, listen to music, go roller blading, go to guitar clubs and 'jam', sit on the steep banks of the Manchester Ship Canal, build dens :oops:, ride our bikes, go to the Odeon or ABC cinema every week near bridge foot (both now closed), hang around in Warrington on a Saturday, as we got older we'd all hang around at Walton Gardens and Appleton Res, never causing or seeing any trouble I'd like to add :wink:

 

I suppose though that it seemed a lost safer to just wander around then.. it probably wasn't... but it seemed it :?

 

Infact we used to do loads of stuff but now having thought about it most was free and we made our own 'entertainment' and we had fun and of course we never expected anyone else to find us something to do as it wasn't the 'done' thing then :D

 

HOWEVER... of course there were rarely false promises of special youth funding or other grants from the Government or Local Council so we didn't 'expect' just as we weren't 'dissapointed' by not getting :wink:

 

Times have changed... :?

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Baz J

So many teenagers would and do have that kind of respect for elders but are never given the chance because in the media and in forums like this we are stereoptyped as hoodied ASBOs.

 

Not at warrington-worldwide we don't - the cover of our January issue is testimony to that and we always enjoy reporting on the good things teenagers do.

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If it's help with things that the youngsters want then maybe be a bit flexible to us 'older and wiser' ones who can assist and advise with things heh ?? as with a lot over 40 I also knew 'everything' when I was 16 or 17 ... nobody could tell me anything I knew it all !! only to find that many years down the line I really knew absolutely 'sod all' !!!

 

If you intend to organise events or want to organise things to help your cause don't confine it to the 'I know it all I'm a cool hoodie dude smart alecs' who really don't know JACK !

 

There are just as many - if not more - despicable, callous and slimy adults as there are younger ones also don't forget .... so tarring all youth with the same brush is totally wrong.

 

As has been said, your own fund raising is what helps, self funding, as most events and clubs have to be and indeed the vast majority of businesses.

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