Hull City Council hopes to give youth projects a future despite funding axe
THREE youth projects could still have a future despite facing a council funding axe.
The three schemes – two in east Hull and one in Bransholme – are aimed at encouraging young people to get involved in organised go-karting and motorbike scrambling sessions.
But they are all facing an uncertain future after Hull City Council announced proposals to withdraw funding.
Labour leaders say the council cannot afford to operate the projects because of multi-million pound reductions in Government funding.
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The three centres in Noddle Hill Way, Chapman Street and Poorhouse House currently cost the council about £254,000-a-year to run.
Last weekend the Poorhouse Lane facility hosted the regional qualifying event for this year's British Schools karting championships, attracting 11 teams from across East Yorkshire.
Now senior councillors say talks are being held to see if all three projects can be transferred to new operators.
Deputy leader Councillor Daren Hale said he was "optimistic" that all three could continue in some form.
"We are talking to other organisations about taking on the motor projects," he said.
Options are believed to include offering concessionary leases to voluntary sector groups or commercial organisations interested in running the facilities.
The proposed withdrawal of funding for the three schemes is part of a wider £1.1m reduction in the council's budget for youth services over the next two years.
Other proposed savings include selling two minibuses, renegotiating contracts with external youth service providers and slimming down the number of council management posts.
In addition, funding currently provided by the council for drug and alcohol support work with young people is being substituted with new funding worth £230,000 a year from the National Treatment Agency.
The funding cuts have coincided with a review of all council-run youth services in the city.
As a result, more emphasis will be placed on working with young people classed as vulnerable and at risk of family break-ups.
Rachel Roberts, the council's skills and learning manager, said: "There is a particular focus on early intervention with vulnerable young people or on targeting more limited resources to support the most vulnerable.
"What is also clear is that while in a few places councils are taking the different decision to no longer offer youth services to young people, in many more there is a strong ambition to find new ways of delivery in order to continue to offer services which go some way to meeting young people's needs."