Belper's Drop Inn backs cuts in Derbyshire youth funding

A Derbyshire youth centre is backing county plans to cut activities for young people - and give the money to voluntary groups instead.

Independent organisation The Drop Inn, in Belper. said the move would help serve youth in rural areas where provision was "desperately needed".

Last year, the county council spent £2.2m on youth clubs and other activities for 13-to-19-year-olds.

It is now proposing to set up a Youth Activities Grants scheme.

'Well qualified'

The Drop Inn currently relies on donations from the public, churches and local organisations such as the Rotary Club.

Andrea Fox, founder of the charity which caters for 12-to-18-year-olds, said it did not currently have the capacity to serve rural communities.

However, they would make them a priority if the centre received extra funding, she said.

Ms Fox added she believed there were a lot of voluntary sector groups who would want to apply for money to expand what they do for rural areas.

"There are a lot of groups that are very experienced, very well qualified and there are also lots of people out there who want to set up these groups and they've not been able to," she said.

£100m savings

Conservative councillor Barry Lewis said the changes were aimed at giving more young people more opportunities to get involved.

But Labour councillor Alan Charles said the move was an attack on young people.

"At the moment no exercise has been undertaken to see what coverage the voluntary sector can give," he said.

Proposals to axe youth services will be put out to public consultation before being implemented.

The county council currently provides 30% of youth services in Derbyshire, running 29 youth clubs and needs to save £100m in the next five years.

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