Fury at Monmouthshire youth service cuts
1:40pm Wednesday 16th January 2013 in News
YOUTH services for some of Monmouthshire’s youngest children are being cut.
Monmouthshire Youth Service is changing its statutory requirements and from January 23 will now only provide for those aged 11-25.
This means those aged nine and ten are going to miss out.
Further cuts have resulted in sessions for the older users, juniors and seniors, being reduced by half an hour each.
Angry Monmouthshire independent group leader Cllr Simon Howarth has called on the council to reinstate the service.
He said: “I am furious. They have been told they have got no club at the drop of a letter.”
Mum Christine Price was handed a letter by her ten-year-old son Deryn, after he came home from the Gilwern group on January 9.
It has taken place from 5-7pm on Wednesdays since around 1996.
The letter wishes parents a happy new year before detailing the changes. “We understand this may cause disappointment to some of the young people who have been attending the club that might be under the age bracket, but these changes have had to be put into place because as a youth service we only receive funding for young people [aged] 11 to 25 years,” it says.
Mrs Price said: “Deryn was devastated. He told me “It’s the only place I can go and meet my friends.” Sam Davies, 33, whose nine-year-old son enjoys the Gilwern group, said: “They have nowhere else to go apart from hanging around streets which aren’t safe.”
Mrs Price said it is not the first time the group has been hit, as sessions were reduced from several days a week to one, first on a Friday and then to Wednesdays.
Monmouthshire’s cabinet member for children, young people and learning, Cllr Liz Hacket Pain, was challenged on the matter at Thursday’s full council meeting by Cllr Howarth.
She responded saying: “I do think there is a reason why it has been done and I don’t think it’s a back door budget cut.”