Brighton and Hove Youth Collective (B&HYC) were quietly celebrating yesterday as they received an unexpected extension from Brighton and Hove City Council and renewed hope for the future.
Ahead of the council’s Policy & Resources Committee, B&HYC had been bracing itself for its £400,000 commissioned contract for the delivery of universal Youth Work with community and voluntary sector youth work organisations across the city to be ended as part of a proposal of cuts to meet the city’s budget expected shortfall in the next financial year.
However, when the Committee met on Thursday evening (January 23rd) councillors from across the political divide agreed to review previous decisions and bring forward non-binding proposals to the next meeting of the Committee, as part of the 2015/16 budget report.
Receiving this news Ben Glazebrook, Lead Manager for Brighton and Hove Youth Collective said “this is good news for community and voluntary sector Youth provision and now enables us to deliver services to young people in the city until October 2015. It gives us time to look at alternative ways of delivering Youth Services in the city for the future, and to work out the true Return on Investment that Youth providers give.”
The impact of the Notice of Motion supported by all Political Parties would be to:
a) Retain the current £400k contract with the Brighton & Hove Youth Collective until it expires in October 2015 instead of terminating it 6 months early as proposed in the 4th December Budget Update and Savings 2015/16 report to this Committee. Identify the appropriate amount of one-off funding to enable this to happen.
b) Transfer £22,500 (half of their annual combined grant of £45k) from the in-house Youth Services budget to Allsorts, BME Young People’s Project and Extratime in order to enable them to continue providing their services after April 2015, when their current Council grant funding stops.
c) Examine how services currently provided by Allsorts, BME Young People’s Project and Extratime can be best integrated within the overall Youth Service budget.
d) Between now and October 2015 hold an open and transparent re-commissioning of all Council-funded Youth Services within the agreed budget envelope, with a genuine level playing field for all providers who express an interest in running the contract(s).
Officers have also been asked to find transitional funding for 3 other voluntary groups that work with young people. These are Allsorts, BME Young People’s Project and Extratime – whose grant funding runs out at the end of March.
Whether services are re-commissioned or reviewed is still in the balance but the structure of Youth Services in the city has been given some grace to decide.
“The show of support across the three parties for the work of the Youth Collective is very much appreciated. The comments and the emphasis that they have placed upon the value services being embedded in communities is encouraging for us all.
We really want to continue to work with the City Council to integrate and deliver the best services that we can and this decision gives us the space to really work things through together. It also enables us to talk about the issues facing us all, whilst getting the best of the resource that is there for residents of the city.
Councillors from all parties should be commended as they have placed the importance of services for young people above politics and they recognise the incredible contribution & social value that the community and voluntary sector makes to our city” concluded Ben.