Glastonbury calls on other Councils to follow our lead and invest in youth provision.
As a result of dramatic reductions in funding from central government, Somerset – like other local authorities across the UK – has been forced to divert money to frontline services, and in 2011, the County Council announced that – in addition to the budget cuts – they would also stop being a direct provider of youth work within three years…
With serious deprivation in two of Glastonbury’s wards and concern that the needs of children and young people were not being met – Glastonbury Town Council responded to the cuts by creating a Youth Provision Committee to provide support and investment for local youth services; reflecting the council’s commitment to young people before the town lost those services forever.
From 2013, Glastonbury Town Council has helped to fund staffing costs for both the open-door youth club at Windmill Hill and the Red Brick Building Youth Club – creating a service level agreement with the YMCA Brunel Group – as well as supporting other groups in the town, such as Glastonbury’s Youth Council, the Air Training Corps, Sea Cadets, the wider Scouts movement, and Children’s World, as well as setting up a ‘mini-police’ scheme with the Police and St. Benedict’s School.
Mark Willcox, Director of Youth and Community with the YMCA Brunel Group, recently stated: “Over the years we have seen Glastonbury Town Council’s passion, commitment, and consistency in supporting young people in their community. They are a council who cares for the young people in society. They have provided opportunities and activities that benefit the young people in their community. This Town Council makes young people a priority and this is evident throughout their governance. The focus they have for young people can be seen from their meeting agendas, the decisions they have resolved, the grant aid they give to local groups and by commissioning services that enhance young people’s wellbeing and lives in and around Glastonbury.”
Mental health and wellbeing:
With the difficulties young people are facing in these uncertain times, mental wellbeing is of paramount importance – and keeping in contact with the young people is critical. Over the last year, Glastonbury has financed mental health and wellbeing support in the town’s schools and youth clubs; the council’s continued investment has enabled youth workers to offer support via phone calls and provide online resources, Zoom youth clubs meetings and workshops.
At this crucial time, with the additional pressures that young people are experiencing as a result of the pandemic, Glastonbury Town Council is calling on other Town and Parish Councils across the UK to follow their lead and invest in local youth provision.