Youngsters in Sandwell and Dudley boroughs prepare cuts to services

Sandwell Youth Council members Kelly Mcmahon, Abdi Mohammed Chair of West Bromwich, Morgan and Tasnin Miah. (buy photo 4207189)

Sandwell Youth Council members Kelly Mcmahon, Abdi Mohammed Chair of West Bromwich, Morgan and Tasnin Miah. (buy photo 4207189)

First published in News

CRUCIAL youth services and clubs are preparing for massive cuts in Sandwell and Dudley boroughs.

Youngsters staged a protest outside Oldbury Council House on Friday to demand Sandwell Council listen to their views before axing services.

Meanwhile, in Dudley children's services boss Councillor Tim Crumpton admitted the council may be unable to provide any youth services to teenagers if budget cuts continue.

Anna Shepherd, whose two children are members of the Youth Council and attended the Sandwell protest, said: "The children did themselves proud, they spoke really well against the cuts which will affect them the most.

"They even suggested fundraising ideas to help keep the Youth Council and youth clubs open.

She added: "The council listened to their concerns and promised to keep the youngsters involved in the decision making process, it is just a matter of waiting until the decision in March."

In Dudley the council’s pot of cash for youth provision currently stands at £1.6million per year – just over half what it was in 2010/11; and department chiefs expects the budget to continue to fall considerably in future years.

Youth services in the borough has already been earmarked to take a hit to help the council achieve savings of £180,000 in 2014/15 and up to £380,000 by 2015/16.

But Councillor Tim Crumpton, Dudley’s cabinet member for children’s services, fears the council may not be able to provide any of its own youth services in a couple of years time if the cuts continue at the current pace.

He said: “We may come to the point where we can no longer provide services; we’ve got to prepare for this - we have got to find some other way of doing it.

“I’m not just going to sit there and wait for it to happen; by June we have got to have a plan in place.”

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