The main item of business today at the Dorset County Council Cabinet meeting was the item on Youth Services, the strategic outline case. There was a great deal of interest and the room was packed, many young people attended and some spoke too. The outcome for each of the 22 youth centres which are currently financially supported with costs associated to the building will be variable and the impact will be too since some operate as stand alone Youth Club facilities and others operate from school sites providing great help particularly at lunchtimes, and others work with children centres where the joint working can have a significant positive impact on families right from the very early stages from birth to teen age. It was reassuring to hear that if a building in a community is a place where young people feel comfortable, that it is appropriate and the best place for them to get support and help from the many different professional services which help young people and families, then this can be factored into local arrangements.
My County Council Cabinet priority is to ensure prevention and early help is embedded in everything the council delivers, so that children, young people and families, friends can benefit as early as possible to hopefully help not reach a stage when that help which might be needed has to be more interventionalist.
Representing Beaminster, where there is a building, the Youth Centre, where indeed a huge amount of advice and help is given to young people by professional services, where the very excellent children’s centre operates a vast amount of classes and help for young families and where scouts, young farmers and many others all meet to use the excellent facilities, I do believe there is a place for the centre, as a community centre which can facilitate all sorts of services and activities as it does now and more. The residents of Beaminster support the Centre in lots of different ways, including the local food bank, the WI teaching skills to others, the Beaminster Youth Band etc.
I have been discussing the future with the team at the county and will continue to put forward your views and suggestions. The key is to think about links with others, ways to work together and as a result ensure we have a thriving support service for children and young people, a fun and attractive location for use by others and the means to continue to deliver the excellent work now and into the future. The opportunity is there so I hope the town council and others can support.