Bradford student union leader vows to campaign against Council cuts to youth service (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Bradford student union leader vows to campaign against Council cuts to youth service
The president of Bradford College’s students’ union has vowed to campaign for the district’s youth service, which faces losing 79 per cent of its budget as Bradford Council makes £89 million of cuts.
Piers Telemacque said the service “means so much more than another number on a spreadsheet” to many young people across the city who have had their lives “transformed” by youth workers.
As the Telegraph & Argus reported on Tuesday, under the controlling Labour group’s draft budget for 2014-16, there would be £3 million of cuts to the Council’s youth services department.
And the number of youth workers will be slashed from one in each Council ward to two per Parliamentary constituency.
“Youth workers are far more than their job title,” said Mr Telemacque.
“They are so much more – friends, mentors, role models, social workers, a first point of contact and, for some kids, the closest thing they have to someone who listens, empathises and cares about them and their needs.
“They are the ones who encourage young people to do well and prosper in education. They are the ones who prevent crime and tell you the long-term impacts of your actions.
“They are the ones who you can go to when you have no one else, and the ones who spot when there are problems young people are facing alone.
“And they are the ones who recognise your potential and provide you with the encouragement, support and resources to enable you to get involved, achieve, and become and do what you are capable of.”
The students union chief said for many young people, the youth service provided their first outdoor trip outside of Bradford and allowed them to meet other young people from different areas.
He added: “Too many young people are being failed in too many areas of society.
“I know that our Council has worked to retain as much of our youth service as possible, and that many other local authorities have already wielded the axe in this area.
“When this happens it increases the strain on social services, schools, colleges and the police. Services facing their own severe cuts and unable to cope with the extra strain.
“I am not saying that the service is perfect. There are always places where money can be saved and work carried out more efficiently. But what I am saying is we need to make the right cuts in the right places and it’s the people of Bradford who will suffer so we should be involved in the decision making process, and good decisions are not made with a gun to your head.
“We need to fight, defend and campaign to protect what is important to us. We need to mobilise, support and empower our young people and residents of Bradford to protect what's important to them.”
He said anyone who could offer any support should e-mail supresident@ bradfordcollege.ac.uk.
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