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CEO’s Thoughts (January Newsletter)

28 January 2021

It was great to see the recent Guardian story highlighting the cuts to youth services and support for young people. I am glad that the media have started to support young people and are actively engaging with Berkshire Youth and the national organisations to enable that conversation to be heard.

During one of the worst pandemics, we have seen all too well the huge gaps in support for young people out of school. Through the government’s own data we can track the huge rise in the number of young people being referred to social care. Prior to the pandemic, from 2015 to 2019, one local area in our county reported a 79% increase in referrals. We have also seen reports of 97% cuts in youth service funding, with one unitary authority cutting its youth work budget from £2.26 million in 2012 to £0.12m in 2018/19. A cut of more than £2 million doesn’t just wipe out a couple of posts, but decimates a profession and support structure for young people in both the short term and for many years to come. This puts more pressure on referrals and an already overburdened school and social care system.

We have to look at a balance between intervention by the state and prevention, and are we excited by the Waterside Centre which is on track to open this year. Although the project faces huge funding challenges and restrictions, we will get there. If you would like to donate to this project, please visit our fundraising page on the Good Exchange where Greenham Trust are matching every donation made.

We have also been busy freshening up the website and expanding the West Berkshire Youth Hub to cover all areas of Berkshire. Now called ‘Berkshire Youth Hubs’, we are busy populating the sites with resources and information for young people, parents and supporters. Please take some time to have a look at the new hub here.

We are all looking forward to 2021 and cannot wait for the return of life as we should know it. Keep the faith and thank you all for supporting young people!

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