‘Spare’ council cash could fund new youth scheme in part of Barnsley
A new project could be launched to help young people in the northern part of Barnsley, where facilities for that age group are limited, using money ‘left over’ from spending on other schemes in the area.
North Area Council, a localised body which operates under Barnsley Council, runs several projects across council wards including Old Town, St Helen’s and those covering Darton but has not spent all its available cash.
Now councillors who make up the body are looking for a project to “erode” that surplus in the years ahead and are focusing attention on work to help younger people in the district. At this stage work still needs to be done to work out exactly what they want to offer and how the service would be delivered.
One workshop to explore options has already taken place and another is due in mid-April.
A likely option is consultation work to establish what teenagers themselves would like to have available likely to take place over the summer.
The area council already employs two youth engagement workers and they are regarded as being well placed to help move the consultations forwards.
Statistics suggest there may be a need to help address mental health issues and Coun Phillip Lofts suggested establishing some form of support which would help teenagers before their needs allowed mental health problems to escalate.
He told colleagues: “I am concerned by statistics, particularly for Old Town. It cannot be any co-incidence that Old Town has not had youth services and is near the top for self-harm hospital admissions.
“We are not an unaffluent ward. There seems to be some disconnect there.
“I am concerned that we don’t have a model that just says ‘everybody welcome’.”
He suggested a facility where young people could feel welcome and socialise with role models, “before mental health issues become apparent”.
Further decisions will be taken later.