Secret council process is robbing youth workers of vital funds

Some of your readers involved in community groups may be aware that a secretive new commissioning process by council officers has resulted in local groups losing out on vital funding for youth work.  As with the commissioning process for the voluntary s

Some of your readers involved in community groups may be aware that a secretive new 'commissioning' process by council officers has resulted in local groups losing out on vital funding for youth work. As with the commissioning process for the voluntary sector, the reasoning is unclear.

Under plans already agreed, the gym at the fantastic Fresh Academy in Highgate, projects at Queens Crescent Community Centre and the Haven Youth project in Castlehaven have all had bids for funding turned down. This is on the grounds that the Town Hall feels that some of these groups do too much. Why exactly is "too much" when it comes to youth work? The council needs to be investing more in these projects, not cutting back funding!

Are these poorly-run projects? No. In fact one of them was used as an example by Lib Dem Cllr. John Bryant in November 2007 at a conference with Channel 4 presenter Jon Snow! Cllr. Bryant said then: "Preventing problems before they start has got to be the best way to ensure children have the best possible start in life. No child should be at a disadvantage because of the circumstances they happen to be born into and innovative projects like these help those who need it most." It seems he has changed his tune now.

On top of this, many community groups face tough new leases, requiring volunteers to be personally liable for the buildings services are run from, putting their personal finances and homes at risk.


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These decisions have gone through on the nod by Tory and Lib Dem councillors, including the Conservative councillor who recently quit Highgate after only 2 years. I will be writing to the council asking for a response and I urge Camden's residents to do the same.

Michael Nicolaides

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Labour Candidate for Highgate Ward

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