Unions join in youth protest

ndet 98587 Anti Youth Club Cuts Rally. Ian Potter.
ndet 98587 Anti Youth Club Cuts Rally. Ian Potter.

A protest rally to oppose planned changes to the Derbyshire Youth Service was held on Wednesday before a debate at County Hall triggered by a massive petition.

Labour Group leader Cllr Ann Western said: “A figure of 7,000 signatures were required to secure a full council debate, something which has never been achieved before.

“This has not stopped the youth of Derbyshire who are determined to save their say.”

Over 16,000 people have now signed the petition opposing the changes which would impact upon 29 youth centres and would see the loss of up to 157 youth workers.

UNISON, who took part in the rally, said it was to remind councillors before the meeting of the strength of opposition to the plans.

Jeanette Lloyd, Branch Secretary of UNISON, said: “Young people have always been at the forefront of leading this campaign and this is a tremendous achievement.

“It is a pity that the council did not agree to change the time of the meeting to allow young people to attend.”

In addition to the debate, Cllr Western submitted a motion calling for a centre by centre review of Derbyshire County Council (DCC) youth work to evaluate its effectiveness; a review of the impact of job losses on multi-agency team effectiveness and for further dialogue with young people before any changes are introduced.

Under the proposals, DCC intend to: close youth clubs and the mobile service; set up a grant scheme to support new projects, voluntary, community and independent groups; transfer or dispose of youth centre buildings and continue to provide qualified youth workers to support vulnerable young people and families.