CONCERNS have been voiced that young people may be missing out on access to valuable youth provisions due to county council cutbacks.
Liberal Democrat councillor Bob Smytherman raised fears that centres such as the Glynn Owen in Worthing are no longer able to offer universal services due to £4 million being axed off West Sussex youth budgets during the past two years.
He said: “The county have made a big deal of not making any new youth service cuts, but we are only now just starting to see the effects of the cuts that have been made over the past two years.
“There are a number of young people who come from families who do not have a lot of money and who are not now part of the county’s identified group of young people to assist, who may miss out on services at the Glynn Owen Centre, which is now focusing on target groups.”
The Herald approached the Glynn Owen Centre, but a spokesperson said it was unable to comment about any cuts.
However, a West Sussex County Council spokesman responded: “The Youth Support and Development Service provides early intervention, prevention, targeted and specialist services for young people in areas of most need and to those who have identified needs across the county.
“In areas of identified need, the Youth Support and Development Service operates a dedicated provision, as is the case with the Glynn Owen Centre. In addition, the service works corroboratively with other providers in the area to support and enable a wide range of provision for young people as a whole, as is the case in the wider Worthing area.
“In areas where the service has withdrawn from centres, the county council has worked closely with communities, the voluntary sector and all key partners and stakeholders, such as other local authorities, to ensure a wide offer of provision is available to young people, irrespective of levels of identified need.
“Working in this way with partners to co-ordinate the changes ensures sustainable provision and services are being developed within the communities affected, and as such enabling local people to determine the services they identify as being key to their needs, inclusive of youth provision.”