Youth Strategy Groups (YSGs) across Essex are to be abolished, along with their ring-fenced funding of £200,000. This plan slipped out from Conservative-run Essex County Council in a briefing in the last few days.
Instead, projects that would have been commissioned by YSGs will now have no guaranteed funding. Vital schemes could now end, such as those designed to support children's mental health, and initiatives aimed at preventing children from getting involved in drugs and gangs.
At the same time, funds allocated to local County Councillors have also been cut.
These youth projects must now compete in a "bidding war" in front of local county councillors, who have been given a pot of just £4,000 each (down from £5,000 last year) to spend on a wide range of issues including levelling up and climate change, as well as youth services.
In the Rochford District last year, £12,328 was allocated to projects by the Youth Services Group (YSG).
As a result of these cuts the total funding has gone from £50,000 to £34,000 this year in our district!
I am personally appalled that this funding has been cut without any consultation with the YSG's and that once again the Essex Conservatives fail to realise how important these services are to all of our community.
By abandoning these YSG's they've not only taken away the voices of our districts young people, but put some at risk of health and harm - this is a truly shameful move to save a few quid.