Bridges too far? (Jenny Henry)
I was interested to read in the article “ASN service could absorb big cuts …” (Shetland Times, 20th September), that the Bridges project and the Bruce Hostel behaviour support base should be merged to eliminate duplication, according to the comprehensive, independent review produced by Donnie McLeod.
The Bridges project was included in the recent “Review: Provision of Youth Services in Shetland” which was carried out by staff of the children’s services section of the council, and accepted for adoption by the full council at its meeting in August.
This review led us to believe that the major part of the Bridges project was funded from the same pot of money as the islands’ youth service (ie youth clubs, part-time youth workers, etc) and also stated there were to be no changes to the Bridges project.
Therefore, in order to find the necessary £150,000 budget cuts, Shetland’s successful “youth club” network is to be severely cut back from April next year, with a reduction in staff numbers from 123 part-time youth workers to around 48, and a reduction in youth club sessions from, in the case of Lerwick’s Islesburgh, 104 junior sessions to just 24 per year.
As Bridges has also now been included in Professor McLeod’s review, and if, as suggested, the project is combined with part of the SIC education service, will the funding for the combined service now come from the “education” pot? Or will the “youth service” pot be further reduced by the cost of the Bridges project, say £130,000, meaning a total reduction of around £280,000?
Can someone enlighten me?