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More cuts for young people as Regional Youth Work Unit closes

JANUARY 21, 2020

Cuts blamed as Learning South-West, which houses the Regional Youth Work Unit, closes in dramatic fashion with eight staff being made redundant. The Regional Youth Work Unit supports young people and the youth sector to have a voice in decisions that affect their lives.There's no indication yet on the charity's web site and we are told that the staff, which includes Gill Millar, a hugely respected youth work figure, had no idea this was coming.

The charity, which is based in Taunton, Somerset and which has existed for 68 years, supported the professional development of people working with young people and in youth work in south-west England.

Learning South West had an income of more than £2.5m in the year to the end of March 2015 and about the same amount of expenditure, according to figures on the Charity Commission website. A statement from the charity’s administrators, Mazars, said the charity ceased trading on 7 April and appointed Mazars on 11 April. No details on the exact nature of the charity’s funding problems have been released.

The Regional Youth Work Unit supported young people and the youth sector to have a voice in decisions that affect their lives.

Supporting the UK Youth Parliament, an important forum to engage young people in social action and democratic processes, working with the British Youth Council to co-ordinate UK Youth Parliament in the South West is one of the areas where the Youth Work Unit contributed massively as well as supporting young people in having a voice in local, regional and national policy making, working with local, regional and national bodies to enable young people to be represented in relevant forums. Recent campaigns included Votes at 16; improving access to transport for young people in the region, and ensuring young people have access to positive sex and relationships education. The Regional Youth Work Unit also supported young people campaigning to preserve services for young people in their areas.

Kate Howard, chair of Learning South West, said in a statement that the closure would be a major loss to the further education and skills sector.

"Our staff, through no fault of their own, have seen a great organisation need to take the extremely difficult decision to close," she said.

"We admire the exceptional commitment and expertise of the staff. They as a team have raised the profile of Learning South West and ensured the organisation delivered a quality service for its partners and learners. Their expertise and professionalism have set the standard for an organisation that will not be forgotten.

"We must also, in spite of an austere and forbidding world, remember to hold fast to our deep values and continue to commend those exceptional organisations and their staff teams who help all learners and young people achieve their goals."

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