Surrey County Council wants to make better use of existing youth centres by enabling the voluntary, community and faith sector to use to provide services for young people for free or minimal cost. The council is consulting on proposals that would allow voluntary, community and faith organisations wanting to work with young people to have access to buildings such as The Edge in Epsom.
Currently many of Surrey’s youth centres are only used a few hours a week. These proposals will ensure that the Youth Centres are being used consistently to their full potential. They also provide an opportunity in some cases for a more comprehensive and joined up service, with organisations working together out of one building and sharing good practice to meet the needs of the young people in the community.
Mary Lewis, Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Families, said:
“We know our existing youth centres are not being used fully. It’s about making use of our assets and the experts in the community, voluntary and faith sector to bring these buildings alive again. “
The consultation, which runs until the end of April, asks if the council should continue to deliver universal open access youth work and how it could enable the voluntary, community and faith sector to use the youth centres at little or no cost.
Open access youth work is often provided in youth centres and is open to all young people without referral or a specific need. Whilst there is no statutory duty for the Council to continue to provide open access universal youth work, the youth centres themselves are a valued community asset and can play a larger role in achieving the Community Vision for 2030 that includes community participation as one of the priorities.
These proposals are intended to maximise the potential of the existing youth centres whilst recognising this needs to be achieved within the available existing resources. This consultation is not proposing any budget reductions but we want to use existing resources more effectively and enable youth centres to be a vibrant community asset.
The full proposals and consultation is available on SurreySays.