New scheme to help struggling youth communities in Barnsley will be financed by unspent cash

Plans to provide a new service to help struggling youngsters in parts of Barnsley are moving forwards with almost £5,000 now earmarked to be spent on consultation work and the creation of a short film to illustrate the scheme’s objectives.

Tuesday, 14th May 2019, 12:42 pm
Updated Friday, 17th May 2019, 12:53 pm

The North Area Council, a sub-group of Barnsley Council covers communities in Old Town, St Helen’s and Darton East and West wards and has unspent cash which should finance two workers for the area over a two year period.

Although councillors representing those areas are clear they want a service which will help young people from the area to thrive as they approach adult life, they have yet to clarify exactly where the service will be focused and how it will operate.

A workshop session will take place in late June to allow members to thrash out those ideas and in the meantime a three minute film will be produced, with input from the district’s youth community about what they would like to improve their lives.

Councillors are wary of asking for ‘big spend’ suggestions such as a swimming pool or community centre, because that scale of funding is not available.

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But they would like to provide a service which targets at least some of the needs teenagers are likely to experience.

There is still confusion about what would best help that age group and it is hoped the investment in research will help to resolve that and shape the service they will eventually authorise.

Coun Sharon Howard said: “We have had two meetings to look at doing something for young people, their mental health and well-being.

“We don’t know what that project is going to be but when we have done the £5,000 plan, we will have an idea of what it will be. At the moment we are trying to guess.

“We have not spoken to young people yet. There are a lot of young people who are not in school, for one reason or another, it may pick up some of those.”

Coun Phillip Lofts said there was too little money available to provide a scheme which would cover all needs, but he said a “ground up” approach was needed, to provide a service youngsters felt they were able to “opt into”.

His Old Town ward has a particularly high incidence of youngsters self-harming and one option already examined in workshop sessions has been to focus of youths involved in ‘risky behaviour’, something most normally associated with those in the 15 to 19 age range.