Cllr Mike Blakemore, Folkestone & Hythe District Council’s Cabinet Member for Community and Collaboration, is concerned about the impact locally of the youth and family services proposals.
“In responding to a recent consultation on this, Folkestone & Hythe District Council welcomed proposals to provide improved and more effective service for residents through a new family hub model, linked to a joined-up focus on early years and youth work.
“However, our response also warned of significant concerns over the impacts of proposed cuts to commissions for youth service which are part of the budget reduction options and look set to be agreed by the county council.
“The loss of support to groups such as Shepway Autism Support Group or Salus Youth Services will not only put at risk the highly-valued youth provision and loss of existing expertise but also have significant detrimental impact on local communities.
“Loss of these types of groups will leave a major gap which will be difficult to rebuild and may have further negative impacts much wider than youth services.
“We would expect Kent County Council to have undertaken assessments of the proposed cuts at a local level to identify likely negative impacts and that they will work with the district council and affected groups to ensure that our communities are left with services that meet their needs (including enabling groups to access alternative funding to continue their work) – not just a ‘one size fits all’ approach which leaves gaps that can’t be filled.”
Folkestone & Hythe District Council published an open letter about its concerns in response to the consultation in September, which can be read online.