A group which oversees voluntary bodies working with Milton Keynes children says reduced spending on youth services has created added pressure on local organisations.
Action4Youth, the leading co-ordinating body for voluntary organisations that works with children and young people in Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes, responded to the news of reduced spending on youth services presented on the BBC World at One programme this week.
Lynda Cockerell, Action4Youth chief executive, said: “The past few years have been very difficult for the sector. In Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes our statutory local authority partners have had to work with large reductions in government funding and have needed to look for new delivery models and ways of working. Action4Youth has worked closely with them to explore different options and to ensure that young people can still access local youth services.
“We have been extremely lucky in our area that local people have come forward to form voluntary management committees to run youth clubs and, in many cases, these are thriving with increased numbers of young people attending.
“The clubs provide a safe, supportive environment for young people in their local community. In youth clubs, young people have a safe place to meet friends, can access support and advice and take part in sessions, such as women’s self-defence through to leadership programmes and social action projects.”
Ken Birkby, Action4Youth chairman, added: “The dedication and commitment of volunteers to ensure that positive activities and support services are in place for children and young people is truly inspiring.”
Lack of sufficient of volunteers continues to be a huge problem facing Action4Youth, and other organisations such as Girlguiding, Scouts, and other voluntary youth organisations.
The figures from Scouts show that 966 young people are on waiting lists, and from Girlguiding a similar number of 934 girls, who could join units now if there were places available. Between these three organisations, there is the need for about 500 more regular volunteers as leaders and to sit on the management committees to support them.
If you are interested in volunteering with a local group, please contact the Action4Youth team who will be able to advise you of groups in your area on 0845 600 9731.