TEENAGERS set to speak out against city council cuts to youth services fear young people face a future of negative stereotyping and even a life on the streets.
Sixth-former Jessica Cripps, 17, from Newcastle’s Central High School, who sits on the city’s Youth Council, has called a summit alongside her fellow representatives for young people to debate the impact of the cuts on their lives.
Newcastle City Council must save £100m from their budget over the next four years with proposed hits to libraries, swimming pools, youth services and a £5m reduction in funding for Sure Start.
AS-level student Jessica said: “I understand that something has to go but I was shocked that it affected young people so much. The mobile youth service is going so that’s things like advice on smoking that is so important to being a healthy person.
“They are going to get rid of the City Pool and they are thinking of closing Jesmond Library and that’s somewhere a lot of people go to be quiet and revise.
“The budget cuts mean they might not be able to keep on top of playgrounds, so especially children might not feel safe to go there if slides are broken.”
“They are going to get rid of a lot of things for young people and that means there are going to be a lot of young people on the streets that adults particularly complain about whether those young people are causing trouble or not.”
“There will be more negative views of young people which is really what we don’t want.”
The day-long meeting on Saturday, January 19, is expected to be attended by more than 100 young people. Deputy leader of the council Joyce McCarty will answer questions and a workshop will be held asking how young people would have made the cuts differently.
Youth councillors will write a report to hand to leader of the city council, Nick Forbes, on what the feelings of young people are.
She said: “I appreciate that the council is trying to get our views heard but I haven’t really heard of the alternatives or the things that could have gone instead. I do feel responsible as a youth councillor because young people don’t have a place in the papers or on the city council so we feel this meeting is essential in getting our views across.”
“For many people they will be hearing about the cuts for the very first time and how it will impact on their lives.”
A spokesperson for the city council said they welcomed the event and the views of the Youth Council would be listened to and considered.
A spokesperson said: “We are running a city-wide consultation and we welcome everyone’s views, young, old, rich or poor.
“Anyone can contribute to our consultation on the Let’s Talk Newcastle website.
“The young peoples’ views would be taken into consideration in the consultation process and we look forward to listening to their comments.”
The 28 members of Newcastle City Youth Council are elected every year and has a representative for every neighbourhood in the city.
Newcastle City Council proposals include to fully axe the money behind play and youth services and the closure of 19 Sure Start centres.
The Youth Council budget cuts summit will be held on Saturday, January 19, between 10am and 4pm at the Discovery Museum, Blandford Square Newcastle, NE1 4JA.