Fresh help could be offered to struggling youngsters as councillors examine options
Work which could see new youth services provided across communities in north Barnsley is progressing and could result in a wide-ranging project including two existing workers’ roles.
The North Area Council, a sub-group of Barnsley Council, has been looking for months to address problems affecting young people in the district, but wanted to be clear about the nature of the difficulties they face and the help which already exists before making decisions about their next move.
Now they have held discussions with other public sector bodies and are to produce a short film over the summer to highlight the needs of younger people in the community, which will be used to help promote discussions and consultation around the issue.
It is hoped then that members will be able to come up with some clear plans for what sort of services they can afford from their budget and how they will operate.
They have been funding two part time youth workers, employed to engage with youngsters on the streets, but both those posts are to become vacant.
It has already been decided they should remain unfilled until the area council’s objectives become clear, because they could be swept up into a more ambitious scheme.
North Area manager Rosie Adams told councillors at a meeting future work would: “Try to identify the outcomes we would like to have; what do we want it to look like in future for young people.
“What would be the stepping stones to help us get there? There is no perfect solution. We would identify the type of outcomes we want to move young people towards.”
Workshop sessions held so far have already identified issues such as sexual health, empowerment and poverty as factors which can have long-term impacts on the lives and prospects of youngsters growing up in the area.
Improving the emotional resilience of children and young people has already been highlighted as a key area and the age group of eight to 13, when children are in the process of the switch between primary and secondary education, is seen as an important period for increased help.
Coun Alice Cave said: “I am a big believer in getting young people off the street. How we are going to do that, I don’t know.”
Coun Phillip Lofts said: “Education and youth work is not a one off event. It is an ongoing process and you have to try to maintain contact with young people on the street and off the street.”
The area council will discuss the project further when they meet again in September.