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Council cuts money to vital youth services

PUBLISHED: 12:28 27 September 2010

A service which helps youngsters find work and battle drug, sex, and health problems will be devastated by Havering Council cuts, an outreach worker has said.

The £440,000 blow to Havering Connexions, for those aged 13-19, will see 11 staff lose their jobs and its Romford centre in Western Road close.

Steve Woodhouse, outreach worker for union Unison, said: “The service is particularly focused on helping find opportunities for people with disabilities and learning issues, so the cuts are potentially illegal if no assessment on the impact on the disadvantaged has been carried out.

“We believe this cut will devastate the delivery of an effective Connexions service for young people in Havering at a time when this type of service is going to be in the highest demand.”

The cut is equivalent to 25 per cent of Connexions’ £1.7million annual budget – something Mr Woodhouse described as “far too big and too hasty”.

Cllr Paul Rochford, cabinet member for children and learning, said the money given to the council by Government to run the service has been cut by 24 per-cent.

“The council has used its own finances to ensure for this year the service is maintained at its present level. However, we cannot continue to do this,” he added.

“Therefore we’ve asked the company which runs our Connexions Service, Prospects Services Ltd, to identify how the 24 per-cent saving can best be achieved from April, while continuing to deliver the best possible service.”

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