Councillors: Youth cuts are ‘disgusting’
Plans to cut the funding of a youth crime prevention programme have been met with anger by Preston councillors.
The area’s Youth Inclusion Project (YIP) is to lose £82,000 in funding from the Youth Justice Board and now faces closure as government cutbacks take their toll on local services.
But Labour councillors in the east of Preston, where the scheme operates, have branded the plans as “disgusting”.
Councillor Veronica Afrin, whose St Matthew’s ward benefits from the project, said: “This is just another example of making cuts before thinking about the effects it will have on the community.”
The scheme works with people in some of Preston’s most deprived areas, offering targeted support for youths before they become involved in crime and anti-social behaviour.
Since opening in 2006 it has helped nearly 700 young people, providing help in school, extra tuition, and evening sporting sessions.
But a source at the project has revealed that staff have been given notice that the project may be dropped within 90 days.
Cllr Afrin said: “The coalition government is making a song and dance in public about helping families, and at the same time slashing the funds for the very schemes that are making a difference.”
Preston’s Labour MP Mark Hendrick is also backing a petition by parents of the scheme’s users to save the project.
Conservative councillor Julie Buttle, who is the “Young People’s Champion” for Preston City Council, was warier of commenting on the decision.
She said: “It is disappointing, but we are in extremely difficult times and there are going to be closures in some areas.
There are other bodies working with disadvantaged youngsters. What we need to do now is take the time to look at the projects we’re losing, highlight what they got right and implement that into those that we still have.”
A spokesman for the Youth Justice Board said no final decision had been made on funding for the project.