Youth activities could face shake-up over funding

CHANGES could be made to a programme of youth activities in Ponteland.

It has almost been a year since Northumberland Youth Service restructured its operations to cope with a funding cut.

Each of the four areas — north, west, south east and mid-Northumberland — have three dedicated youth workers and in Ponteland there have actually been more activities in 2011/12 as things were disrupted in the previous year when the worker based at the high school had a long illness.

Centre-based workshops have made good progress and youngsters have embraced fun and practical sessions, including football and cookery, with funding support provided by Ponteland Town Council.

But Senior Youth Worker for the West Area Ashley Brown also told members of the authority ahead of a grant application for 2012/13 that detached work on the streets has not helped as many people as he would have liked and so he is hoping to do things a little differently.

“I’m very happy with the progress that the youth service has made in Ponteland in the last 12 months and numbers coming along to our centre have vastly improved,” he said.

“Recent activities such as the cage football and the litter pick have been very successful and the sessions with young people at risk of exclusion and those not in education, employment or training has seen a real improvement in their attitude, communication skills and respect towards staff.

“We will continue to do some detached work and there have been occasions where we’ve helped decent numbers of young people, but it hasn’t been very consistent and I think we can do more with your money.

“For example we could get involved in more events and activities, including some countywide programmes. These would be high profile and help us to take things to the next step.

“It is up to you how you want the funding to be spent, but I have set out in my report how it could be allocated.”

Ponteland Mayor Peter Cowey thanked Mr Brown for his presentation and said that the authority would examine the report before deciding how much money to give the youth service.