As you may know, Wirral council are currently consulting on proposals for the next financial year, including plans to reduce its annual contribution to The Hive Youth Zone.
The latest budget proposals would see the council’s contribution to our charity reduce by half from £400,000 to £200,000 which would have a significant impact on the activities and services we offer.
Together with young people, their parents and our team, we are imploring the authority to reconsider this proposal, which would have a devastating impact on the work we do – which is needed more more than ever and has been given ‘essential status’ from the government as we support vulnerable young people through lockdown.
Hive Chief Executive Stuart Barnes said:
“Wirral’s young people need our support now more than ever.
By working in partnership with the council, The Hive has been able to provide a vital lifeline for young people, providing thousands with engaging and positive activities, alongside targeted projects such as mentoring, school holiday clubs and employability support.
Access to trained and trusted youth workers at The Hive provide young people with support, guidance and a much needed someone to talk to. Our Youth Zone is often the only safe space for some of our most vulnerable young people and we’re deeply concerned about the impact the council’s cuts will have on our members and their families.
We must work together to make sure their needs are met now, or there will be major costs to health and welfare services in the future.
We would urge the council to work with us to find an affordable plan that will ensure our young people get the future they deserve.”
The Hive has benefited from a ‘collaborative private-public funding model’ and evaluation has shown that every £1 invested by the council is worth ‘at least an additional £6 for the young people of Wirral’.
Gill Pleavin, Head of Youth Work at the charity, added:
“If support falls away due to lack of investment, there will be serious consequences for the health and wellbeing of all. Since lockdown restrictions began in March 2020, when other services closed, the team at The Hive worked tirelessly to support young people and I am very proud to say that we continued our 365 day offer of support throughout the pandemic. We have seen first-hand that young people have been impacted significantly by Covid, not least in terms of mental health and have recently seen a 100% increase in young people requesting or being referred for one to one mentoring. If the proposed cut in funding is approved, it will mean that a significant amount of our work will be at risk and that local young people and their families will be impacted directly.’’
We are asking for support from the local community as we ask Wirral Council to reconsider their proposal. The consultation period is open until 22nd January – a public survey can be found at www.haveyoursay.wirral.gov.uk and the first question is about the £200,000 funding cut to youth services. There is also an online ideas board for additional comments and feedback.
There is also a petition online you can sign at http://www.change.org/help-the-hive