The Porthampton Bugle

If it's not in The Bugle – It's not happening!

Council cuts-back on youth projects

It was confirmed earlier today by a council spokesperson that the specific projects to be halted or scaled back as part of the spending reforms had now been identified. Of the 347 projects listed in the report, a staggering 168 had been originally developed to specifically cater for the under-16s. This revelation, which will mean the disappearance of several activity clubs and youth groups, comes at a time when there is unprecedented youth unemployment and families are already struggling to cope with spiralling childcare costs.

Those projects on the hit-list include a number of high-profile groups: the Orchard Youth Group (currently run for 40+ 13-17 year olds from the Monks Orchard council estate), the Grow Your Own schools project (which gets primary and secondary school children involved with growing their own fruit and veg) and the Porthampton Youth Orchestra (whose senior orchestra won the regional competition 2 years ago). There will also be a drastic reduction to the number of sports activities offered to poorer households.

Dean (15, Monks Orchard estate) was clearly disappointed in the council’s decision “It’s so unfair. The [Orchard] youth group is where we have to go and hang out without getting hassled and told we’re causing problems. There’s nowhere else and we all think Clare [who runs the group most days] is wicked”.

Schools participating in the ‘Grow Your Own’ scheme were also informed today that they would have to foot the bill themselves, a costly decision for cash-strapped schools. One head teacher commented “The pupils all love the scheme; it’s a great way to get them out in the fresh air and working with the soil. Before the Runner Beanz staff [who currently run the scheme for the council] came to Upper Kings School there was so much disconnect between their food and the environment. I once asked a pupil of mine where sweetcorn comes from and she genuinely thought it was from a can! That’s all changed now.”

The council have come under fire from the Porthampton community for the publication of this report but it seems they are holding fast to their decisions. What this means in the long-term for Porthampton’s youth is anybody’s guess.

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