Saturday, 15 March 2014

What is the future for youth services... in Sidmouth and East Devon?

Whilst cut-backs at County level have been announced
Futures Forum: "Young campaigners denied a voice at Devon County Council budget meeting"
and with young people questioning the wisdom of these savings
Futures Forum: "Do you want to be a councillor?" ... but "Why stand for election?" ask the younger generation...
there are perhaps other 'options'...

The County Councillor for Sidmouth, Steward Hughes, has said in the latest Herald: 
'I'm confident the youth centre can be saved.'
Home - Sidmouth Herald

Following the closure of the Arches young people's meeting place, the Town Council has promoted a new use:
To formally record the Council’s intention to lease the western shelter at the Arches, Esplanade to Sidmouth Youth Surf and Beach Club. Dave Manley will attend the meeting to give a short presentation to expand on their planned use of  The Arches.
www.sidmouth.gov.uk/PDFs/stc agendas 2013/Agenda STC-060114.pdf

There are other activities and groups for young people of course:
Activity Clubs in Sidmouth for children and teenagers | Local Family Stuff Sidmouth

And there are other groups promoting youth services:
Sidmouth Lions - Some of the things that we do to help youth
Vision Group for Sidmouth - Youth Futures

The scouts have been raising funds for their new hut:
Mystery donors gift scouts £2,500 - News - Sidmouth Herald

There are several organised sports for young people, for example:
Sidmouth Rugby Football Club - Juniors & Girls
Sidmouth Under-15s suffer mixed fortunes in East Devon Youth League outings - Football - Sidmouth Herald

However, there are fears expressed by the East Devon community safety officer that:
'Youth services cuts could lead to more antisocial activity'
Home - Sidmouth Herald
East Devon District Council - East Devon Community Safety Action Days

The police have a priority to deal with antisocial activity in Sidmouth and other areas:
Local policing priorities for Sidmouth, Devon & Cornwall Police - Police.uk

The police in Sidmouth will be engaging with young people in an event over Easter:

Cops set up first ‘scooter and BMX jam’

Stefan Gordon Tuesday, March 11, 2014

POLICE will try to show hard-to-reach youths they are ‘friend not foe’ by spending hundreds of pounds to turn part of the seafront into a scooter and BMX park for a day.

Sergeant Andy Squires this week announced plans for the first Sidmouth Scooter and BMX Jam on April 5 – and hopes it will become an annual festivity. The event, laid on by the town’s neighbourhood policing team, is a novel attempt to engage youngsters who normally avoid officers to increase their safety and tackle anti-social behaviour.

World-renowned supplier Madd Gear Pro will erect temporary ramps at the turning circle of the Ham and five of its professional riders will put on displays, offer free lessons, competitions and give out merchandise.

It is hoped the event will give police the chance to speak to youngsters about issues such as the dangers of underage drinking and legal highs, as well as give advice on how to keep themselves safe.

Town councillors were so impressed by the ‘fantastic’ idea they gave Sgt Squires an unprecedented round of applause after hearing of the plan at their meeting on Monday.

“If we can get young people engaged with us and show police aren’t their enemies by providing this, there might be a bit of benefit to us all,” said Sgt Squires.

The initiative has come about after the superintendant in charge of Exeter, East and Mid Devon made funding available to engage with hard-to-reach communities.

Sgt Squires said that, in Sidmouth, it is 12 to 17-year-olds and officers rarely get the chance to speak to them. “We need to come across as friends not foe,” he said. “They [generally] have a passion for scooting and BMX riding. The event will present a forum for young people to be approached.”

Sgt Squires has secured a road closure for the eastern end of the seafront for the £500 event - which takes place on the first Saturday of the Easter school holidays. His bosses are so impressed they have provided an extra £250, which will be used for a future scheme.

There will be a barbecue at the angling club on April 5 and any profits will go to the scouts and guides. The Scooter and BMX Jam will take place from 10am to 4pm and more information will follow in future editions of the Herald.

Cops set up first ‘scooter and BMX jam’ - News - Sidmouth Herald

However, one does have to ask if spending £750 on such an event is an adequate 'replacement' for the current youth services provided by the County Council...

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