“Disappointment” at impact of youth workers intended to improve Barnsley communities

A project to put part-time youth workers on the streets of Barnsley communities has “disappointed” one of the councillors responsible for setting it up a year ago, following the departure of one of the two staff involved.

By The Star Newsroom
Tuesday, 14 May, 2019, 12:42
Spending: Councillors have invested almost £5,000 to make sure a major investment provides the best service

Barnsley Council’s North Area Council employed two workers, each for 18 and a half hours a week, to work with youngsters on the streets in that district, which covers suburbs around the town centre to Darton and Athersley, with one to cover two of the four council wards.

But Coun Phillip Lofts said he had seen little evidence that the expected work had been done in Old Town, where the worker had been off sick before leaving the job at the end of March.

Work has started to recruit a replacement.

The scheme was intended to take a different approach to traditional youth work, acting as a service to guide youngsters towards available services rather than setting up new projects.

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He said: “It is down to one worker doing detached (youth) work, we have not really got enough resources. They are the key to it and I am disappointed.”

The workers appeared to have moved from the original objective of promoting external activities to work within Darton’s secondary school: “That is million miles from detached working,” he said.

“We have not seen a lot of the youth worker in our ward. It is often said to me there is no real youth work in Old Town, and there still isn’t,” he said.