Youth council rejects overtures at being included in Fenland District Council business plan having had all their funding last year

Fenland Youth District Council meeting this week

Fenland Youth District Council meeting this week - Credit: Archant

Fenland Youth District Council has rejected overtures from Fenland District Council – that axed all funding- to ‘advise’ their successor group which they insist will be independent and youth led.

Fenland Youth Council is to end - but will the youth council successor group be as effective?

Fenland Youth Council is to end - but will the youth council successor group be as effective? - Credit: Archant

The youth council said they were “surprised to discover that Fenland Council are, in their proposed business plan, considering ‘advising’ the new group that is Fenland Community Youth Council.

“Fenland councillors made it blatantly clear when they voted on the comprehensive spending review that they did not wish to continue the YDC programme and that very little support could be given to us.”

Ben Martin, the YDC spokesman, said that since that decision was made, and confirmed, they had been working to establish, from March this year, a new and independent led youth organisation.

He said: “One of the most fundamental principles of this new group is to be totally independent where we are not under the control of any organisation.”

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Ben said that whilst the new group would welcome the ‘moral support’ of FDC they wanted to make it “extremely clear that it is our intention to be an independent organisation.

“Therefore we did not expect to see our name in the proposed business plans of Fenland Council.”

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Although the Fenland Community Youth Council will have no funding (its predecessor cost Council Tax payers £56,000 a year to run), Fenland Council is asking residents whether it should help it.

“Advise the Fenland Community Youth Council – who help young people engage with democracy” is one of the options residents can tick as part of a range of choices reflecting the council’s priorities for 2017.

The newly established community youth council is looking for a part time mentor/advisor to “work closely with the chairman and/or Cabinet members”. The unpaid role will include help with financial matters, sourcing grants, developing membership in schools and helping it become “a recognised advisory and advocacy body”.

Residents have the next five weeks to comment on Fenland District Council’s draft business plan, which sets out its overall priorities for the next year.

The council says their plan focuses on services “that make the most difference to the quality of life of local people.

“It has been influenced by the feedback the council has had over the past year as part of its Comprehensive Spending Review.”

The priorities for 2017 are divided into three general headings: Communities, Environment and Economy. Each one lists several services and asks people to say how important they are to them personally.

Three other open-ended questions are posed under each of the three headings. They are:

“Do you think we are focusing on the most important areas?”

“How could we deliver the above priorities more effectively?”

“Are there any areas that we perform particularly well in, or could be improved?”

The questionnaire also invites comments on the council’s draft budget for 2017-2020.

All the responses must be received by February 7. Councillors will take all the feedback into account when they consider the final version of the plan at their next full council meeting on February 23.

To view the draft business plan and submit comments online, go to Hard copies are available at Fenland Hall, County Road, March, PE15 8NQ, and at the council’s one-stop shops, community hubs and leisure centres

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