Work continues on the setting up of a series of networks
across North Somerset which will deliver sustainable, positive
activities for children and young people in the
Cllr Jeremy Blatchford, executive member for children and young
people's services, said that more than £300,000 was being made
available to develop networks of organisations which will then
commission activities for children and young people in the
"At the moment we're helping to develop 11 networks across the
district. These networks are based around organisations such as
town and parish councils, the police, voluntary organisations and
even individuals who have a genuine interest in the needs of our
children and young people as well as the wider community."
He added that this way of creating sustainable networks rather
than focusing on single organisations is the preferred model
favoured by external funding bodies.
'Enabling grants' from the council totalling £75,000 will be
distributed to existing youth management committees to help them in
the planning and the transition to the network model from April
And £250,000 is to be made available to the emerging networks to
support them as they identify what is needed locally, develop plans
and begin commissioning positive activities for children and young
people in their area.
"Before these local commissioning networks receive any funding they
will have to demonstrate how they will implement their local
programme and demonstrate that it is viable; and create a strategy
that considers innovative ways to plan, develop and commission
services on a local basis.
"What is very important is that this isn't about replacing the
youth service, it's about responding to the needs of many of the
19,200 young people who find the current service doesn't work for
them; and setting up something new which responds to local needs
and involves children and young people."
A 'positive activity provider forum' is also in the process of
being set up and already more than 30 organisations which deliver
positive activities are members.
"The sensible idea here is that we can match what the networks
are asking for with providers who can come up with the goods,"
added Cllr Blatchford.
And North Somerset Youth Parliament is getting in on the act
too. At the moment they are putting together a survey which they
will be sending to every secondary school in the district to find
out which facilities and activities young people would like to be
accessible most, and when, where and how they would like these to
Cllr Blatchford said that the targeted service which works with
the most vulnerable young people, those at risk of offending, as
well as disabled and special needs groups, will continue its
"The work we are doing will offer a wide range of activities
which will be more in tune with our young people," concluded Cllr