Last week I attended a meeting with the Liberal Democrat group and officers of Shropshire Council. The meeting was set up following a proposal put forward by the Council to reduce the Bishops Castle area’s already small youth budget to zero. This follows a 50% cut to Shropshire Councils youth funding. The reasoning behind the youth funding cuts is due to Bishops Castle’s youth not being seen as a immediate need of support from Shropshire Council when compared to the needs of other towns, many of which are not receiving cuts and some may receive more funding.
The Council assured me that this was still a proposal and were looking for feedback on the issue. I explained that while I understand that many other towns are in desperate need of funding, as a community we are constantly ‘punished’ for being resilient and self sustaining. I feel our hard work should be rewarded by the Council and not seen as an excuse to abandon us. When the cuts passed down from central government are disproportional from the cuts we receive, it sends a clear message to our community that we are on our own with regards to our youth.
I explained that we are very proud of the way our local communities come together to support our services. However if that strength is seen as reason for further cuts it will without doubt take the wind out of our sails. I benefited from a youth service. We won’t see the effects of these proposed cuts for a while, but I would argue that it will cost more in the long term if our youth are not given the support they need.
They responded positively to my suggestions and gave me hope that they are very willing to listen to our thoughts and ideas. They explained that they were encouraged by our willingness in the Bishops Castle area to make effective use of our funding. I am waiting with optimism to see if this makes any difference to the proposal. It is clear to me that they have some difficult choices to make but I believe that we will make very good use of any funding we get.
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