Wiltshire

Fears expressed over Wiltshire Council youth worker cuts

Young people at a youth club
Image caption Wiltshire Council said an increase in volunteer youth groups meant it no longer needed so many staff

Fears have been expressed over the future of youth services in Wiltshire, after the local authority announced further staffing cuts.

Conservative-controlled Wiltshire Council plans to reduce its remaining youth workers from 18 to seven.

It once employed 150 people, but said an increase in volunteer groups meant it no longer needed so many staff.

Liberal Democrat councillor Jon Hubbard described the cuts as "particularly challenging" to the youth sector.

The chair of the authority's children's committee said the remaining seven youth workers would no longer work directly with young people and would just act as facilitators to volunteer groups.

'Hurting people'

Mr Hubbard described recent cuts as "the complete and wholesale asset-stripping of anything and everything to do with youth work".

Freya Pigott, a Wiltshire-based former member of the Youth Parliament, said: "These are cuts that are hurting people so bad.

"Older people are struggling under austerity, but they're not taking the hit as much as young people."

Youth services councillor Richard Gamble said the council was trying to "maintain all the services that young people are benefiting from, under the new system".

"Staff will be co-ordinators of the volunteer services being provided and we're seeking to try and ensure that facility can remain," he added.

Wiltshire Council needs to make £25m in savings across the new financial year.

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