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'The kids will be on the street' - ex Havering youth worker on cuts

PUBLISHED: 12:25 25 September 2014 | UPDATED: 16:37 25 September 2014

Demonstrators outside the town hall protesting over the Youth Service cuts

Demonstrators outside the town hall protesting over the Youth Service cuts

Archant

Cutting the youth service in Havering will "absolutely ruin" the borough, according to a former volunteer and user of the scheme.

Shannon RamseyShannon Ramsey

Shannon Ramsey, 20, received help and guidance from youth workers as a “troubled” child, before becoming one herself aged just 11.

The service provides guidance, places to go and development support for hundreds of young people in the borough.

Shannon left four months ago after changes, and is now speaking with children who visit centres such as myplace in Harold Hill about the latest cuts.

“The kids are being told the service is going,” she explained. “They’re coming to me because workers are not allowed to discuss it with them. It’s devastating, they don’t know what to do.

“It’s going to absolutely ruin the borough. I don’t think the council realise the way they have helped people. They have changed lives, supported families, given kids something to do.”

Shannon, who first worked at Albemarle House before moving to myplace, believes the 13 to 16-year-olds will have nowhere to go.

“I can’t think of a single thing for kids to do in the borough if they shut down the youth service,” she said.

Having used it herself, Shannon, of Wordsworth Close, Harold Hill, knows the value of it more than most.

“They support underpriviliged children whose parents can’t afford for them to go out,” she said. “To have somebody to listen to is great, take that away and the kids will be on the street.

“I was a troubled kid, I didn’t know anything. A youth worker changed me.”

Though she understands the town hall has its hands tied with £60m cuts needed, Shannon believes inexperienced councillors are picking easy targets and should look elsewhere: “Anything but this,” she pleaded.

Cllr Melvin Wallace, cabinet member for culture, said the consultation was open until December and no decision has been made yet and the proposals don’t impact on the vast majority of services for young people.

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