Ramsgate’s under threat Pie Factory Music urges people to oppose commissioned youth service cuts in county council’s Family Hub plan

Pie Factory Music Photo Jordan Mary

Ramsgate-based youth charity Pie Factory Music is urging residents and businesses to join them in speaking out against proposed cuts to commissioned youth services by Kent County Council (KCC).

KCC is currently consulting on plans for a ‘Family Hub’ model of delivering multiple services for youngsters aged 0-19 – or up to 25 for children with special education needs or disabilities. This includes providing outreach activities, reducing the number of permanent buildings and using digital technologies. The aim is to reduce costs and carbon footprint and help balance the council’s budget.

Kent was identified as a Transformation Authority and selected by the government as a Trailblazer for the national Family Hubs and Start for Life Programme in October 2022.

The programme means an overhaul of Children’s Centre services, Youth Services and Health Visiting, with KCC saying these will work alongside community-based midwifery care, bringing them together and making them easier to access.

Cutting commissioned services

However, the changes include a proposal to stop funding youth clubs and activities currently commissioned by KCC but run by non-KCC organisations – and this will likely include Thanet’s Pie Factory Music which celebrated its 20th anniversary last year.

KCC says: “This is due to the financial pressures the council is facing. This means that some activities and clubs would stop unless the organisations are able to find alternative funding. We are keen to hear from service users how the proposed changes might affect them.”

Pie Factory Music says this will “significantly limit, and potentially eradicate, open access youth work across the county, leaving the vast proportion of young people without sufficient accessible educational and leisure activities outside of school/college.”

Zoë Carassik-Lord (Photo Pie Factory Music)

Pie’s CEO Zoë Carassik-Lord said: “We fail to see how the Family Hub proposal as it currently stands will satisfy KCC’s statutory duty to provide sufficient educational and recreational leisure-time activities for young people.

“After a decade of cuts to local youth services exceeding 70%, and at a time of increased need and demand for youth services, it is not reasonable to further cut such services.

“With 85% of a young person’s waking hours spent outside of school and formal education, where the loss of youth services is pronounced, vulnerable young people in particular are falling prey to loneliness, poor mental health and fear of youth violence or at risk of exploitation.

“In areas investing in youth services, we see a positive commitment to young people’s inclusion in decision-making, community engagement and increased life skills.

“We believe the proposed changes to youth services under the new Family Hub model are the opposite of an investment. It is clear that commissioned youth services have been cut to save KCC money. We are concerned that cutting the commissioned youth services will be the end of open-access youth work delivered in purpose-built youth centres in Kent.”

Pie Factory Music

The vast majority of current open access youth work is being delivered by Kent’s commissioned providers, with Pie Factory Music delivering for Thanet and Dover districts.

Pie Factory says these services will be lost with the end music and creative arts programmes, sports, cooking and bike maintenance projects, youth volunteering and social action projects, gardening groups and Duke of Edinburgh Award.

‘Right support’

Clair Bell, KCC Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health, said: “We are working hard to reduce health inequalities and improve the health and wellbeing of our residents.

“The right support provided at the earliest opportunity is vital for our children and young people.

“By bringing services together in Family Hubs and focusing on the early years of childhood development, we will ease access to the vital services and create and encourage positive opportunities for later in life.

“We want to make sure our approach is right and will meet the needs of families, children and young people in the county and so I urge everyone to give us their thoughts on our proposals.”

‘Dreadful’

County Councillor Karen Constantine said: “It’s absolutely dreadful that youth services are going to be axed, there will be very little youth provision left in Ramsgate. I believe we should be investing in all our young people.

“In particular I am concerned about what will happen to NEETs – those young people not in education training or employment, who need of extra support. On 4th July I wrote to KCC to enquire what provision there will be in Ramsgate for this group. The answer I received from Cllr Sue Chandler is that –‘KCC will continue to offer face to face, 1:1 and group work, counselling, music, targeted and open access support to young people at Quarterdeck youth provision in Margate.’

“It’s clear that Ramsgate youth will bear the brunt of Kent County Council’s short sighting and frankly uncaring cuts. It is simply preposterous to expect young people to travel across Thanet to access vital services. Without help to meet the costs or personal transport (which must young people don’t have) the distance is a huge barrier. Most young people in Ramsgate will not benefit from youth services delivered in Margate.

“Kent County Council Tories are letting down a generation and throwing them on the scrap heap.”

‘Opposing the cuts’

Pie Factory Music Photo Jordan Mary

Pie Factory Music is asking people across Kent to join them in opposing the cuts and raise the volume so that KCC listens and stops the axing of commissioned youth provision.

People can respond to the consultation before the deadline of  September 13.

When the consultation closes, feedback will be analysed and used to help make decisions about the changes.

KCC says the locations of the Family Hub sites will be announced in winter 2023, along with the dates when changes to services will happen. Check www.kent.gov.uk/familyhubservices for updates

Give your views

  • Respond to the consultation via KCC’s website / email / phone number by 13 September. Complete the online form at www.kent.gov.uk/familyhubservicesor send your feedback by email, letter or phone: [email protected] / 03000 419292. You can use Pie’s response as a starting point for your own.

Attend community consultation events

Pie Factory will be there and asks people to bring placards and banners.

  • Friday 4 August 10am to 2pm, Salmestone Primary School, College Road, Margate CT9 4DB
  • Tuesday 22 August 10am to 2pm, Dame Janet Primary Academy, Newington Road, Newington, Ramsgate CT12 6QY
  • Thursday 10 August 1-3pm, School field next to Sunflower Children’s Centre, Adelaide Road, Eythorne, Dover, CT15 4AN
  • Tuesday 15 August 11am-1pm, School field next to Samphire Children’s Centre, St David’s Avenue, Dover CT17 9HJ
  • Share the link to the consultation on your social media and encourage your followers to take part.

People can use Pie’s pre-made images and text to protest at www.piefactorymusic.com/say-no-to-cuts

Tell your councillors and MPs

The consultation documents, and other useful documents

Ramsgate’s Pie Factory Music marks 20 years of working with young people

Callis Grange and Priory children’s centres among Thanet sites earmarked for closure in KCC ‘community services’ overhaul

Thanet steps up the fight to save nursery and children’s centres from closure in county council cuts

2 Comments

  1. The clueless council mob from Westminster TDC and KCC won’t invest a few hundred thousand in the pie factory and youth services essential to the development of our future, but will happily write blank cheques for a defunct airfield which is a multiple time failure and a parkway station, soon to be muggers paradise in the middle of a field with no access by pedestrians without walking through a muddy field. Clever this lot aren’t they. Over budget clueless incompetence by them all.
    #buildonbrownfieldbuildonmanston

    • Its disgusting KCC can happily find millions for a railway station that has around 20 cars per day. KCC can find millions in supporting the Turner centre and arty community.

      Its scandalous that KCC cant find millions to support and help young people.

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