Charities and councils unite to save youth services

By Joe Lepper

| 11 March 2013

A coalition of charities, police and local authorities in West Sussex has raised £153,000 to ensure youth services continue in their area.

New community youth workers are expected to be in post in West Sussex this summer

Youth services in the Horsham area were under threat after West Sussex County Council withdrew funding for six of its seven youth clubs this year, leaving just one club in Horsham and none in nearby villages.

But under a deal hammered out between local charities and councils, money has been raised to fund around six community youth workers this year.

Those involved in the deal include Horsham District Council, parish councils across the area, Sussex Police, the housing association Saxon Weald and charities the Rotary Club and Horsham Matters.

The new community youth workers will be employed by Horsham Matters and are expected to be in post in June.

They will be based across five clusters of parish councils and will be supported by youth volunteers.

Work includes organising youth activities, supporting young people with issues around health and championing local young people’s views.

Consultation with young people in their cluster has been named as a priority of the role.

The deal is the result of 75 local meetings and presentations over the last year, which also included gathering the views of local housing associations and schools.

Clare Ebelewicz, senior youth and older persons officer at Horsham District Council, says some clusters of parish councils have already agreed to continue funding their community worker posts for three years, while others want to pilot their use for a year before committing to long-term funding.

She added: “We are a very rural area, with 30,000 young people, 60 per cent of which live outside Horsham. If this new arrangement hadn’t happened it is those outside of Horsham that would have been worst affected.”

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