Worthing youth volunteers protest against cuts

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YOUNG people protested in Worthing against plans to slash funding to a West Sussex organisation that gives young people vital work skills.

Volunteers at Outset Youth Action (OYA), an independent organisation promoting volunteering for those aged between 13 and 25, held a protest on Thursday, March 3, on Worthing pier against plans to reduce its funding by more than 70 per cent.

The organisation, which is based in Watersfield, Pulborough, currently receives 70 per cent of its funding from Vinspired – a national independent charity whose mission was to increase the quality, quantity and diversity of youth volunteering and which will receive less government money for this work in future – and 30 per cent from West Sussex County Council.

But at the end of March all of OYA’s funding from Vinspired is to be cut, and funding from WSCC is to be reduced by 10 per cent, as the government seeks to save billions of pounds in efficiency savings.

Under the plans, OYA will have the number of its employees slashed from 16 to six, which youth volunteer project facilitator Amanda Baker said would leave it with a “skeleton staff”.

She said: “If this funding is cut, Outset will operate on a skeleton staff and the future of it will be shaky. What work can it manage with six staff, particularly when three of them are admin?”

The protest coincided with an earlier exhibition the organisation held at Gallery 26, in Field Row, which displayed the photography of 25 amateur photographers, aged between 16 and 25, who volunteer for OYA.

The exhibition, which aimed to challenge the perception of young people, took place in Feburary and attracted more than 350 visitors.