The Labour & Co-operative Group on Oxfordshire County Council has welcomed the development of a reconstituted Oxfordshire Youth Service, as reported to Cabinet today.
The update paper announced the return of a County Youth Service with dedicated youth workers for the first time since the service was scrapped by the Conservative-controlled County Council in 2011.
The announcement also marks a major milestone in Labour’s long campaign for the reintroduction of such a service. The campaign has been spearheaded by Cllr Liz Brighouse, Leader of the Labour & Co-operative Group on Oxfordshire County Council and now Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Children, Education and Young People’s Services. Funding for a returned Youth Service formed part of Labour’s successful amendment to the County Council Budget in February 2021.
The new Youth Offer will provide initially targeted support and outreach to young people, focusing on early intervention to reduce risk of exploitation, offending behaviour, substance misuse, exclusion, housing issues as well as improving mental wellbeing. The new service is a first step towards a sector-wide shift to universal youth work openly available to all children and young adults.
Oxfordshire’s new Youth Offer will be delivered through the recruitment of 22 dedicated youth workers across the County supported by a Service Manager. Four workers will operate in each district, with 2 county wide youth workers who will respond to short term issues and concerns in specific areas. The service is aimed at being operational by the end of February 2022.
Councillor Liz Brighouse, Council and Cabinet Member for said: “I am incredibly proud to be able to update the people of Oxfordshire on the Council’s plans to deliver a publically provided County-wide Youth Service from next year. The reverse of this Conservative cut will make a massive difference to the lives of vulnerable children across the whole of Oxfordshire.”