A strange, rather dark week – the international/national and hence local news is very disquieting and takes me back to 16 Sept 1992 (our wedding anniversary) when interests rates when sky high that day 22% , until Norman Lamont, the Chancellor then pulled the UK out of the European Monetary Union.
If anyone thinks these international events are not relevant, you are mistaken; Surrey CC is facing another round of spending cuts already in addition to those already made, and this will impact on the voluntary, community and faith sector in due course.
My concern is for the impact of all this on young people, and I am checking on statistics in two areas: youth homelessness, and on the mental health/wellbeing of young people. In regard to the after I am replacing Pete Brayne (Guildford YMCA) on the CAMHS board. Surprisingly, the latest statistics for unemployment amongst young people aged under 25 (in October) have gone down - no obvious explanation other than the resilience of the Surrey economy. Last Friday’s “Young people and society” public meeting at NESCOT FE college in Epsom went ok – 45 people or so, including a group of students for whom the key issue was how to get work experience placements as part of their course.
We had a Keeping in Touch meeting with Surrey CC’s Assistant Director for Young People (Garath Symonds) on Wednesday, and it seems that the Surrey Youth Consortium has done ok in the bidding process for contracts but no formal announcements are yet made. Quiet satisfaction.
I was then at County Hall again on Thursday giving evidence to a Select C’tee about the cuts in grants to voluntary infrastructure bodies and its intention to move to a commissioning model. The SCC officers have been very open and collaborative in their working and this was acknowledged. I then has a Sports Partnership in the afternoon, working on the action plan to implement the Sports Strategy.
My mood for the week has not been helped by being stuck on the A3 yesterday for over an hour because of an overturned lorry, then spending an hour getting out of Guildford in the evening, and hearing rather discouraging news from the Lottery about a grant bid, though I am pressing on with it, but to a different funding stream. The good news is that a further grant payment is being paid by Surrey CC that enables us to retain our youth development worker during 2011/12.
Off now to the Children and Young People’s Assembly – more next week.