COUNCILLORS in Wem have expressed concerns over a recent consultation from Shropshire Council over youth provision in the town.

A consultation was launched in September, exploring what Shropshire Council can do differently in regards to delivering youth support throughout the county.

The new model of youth work would consist of open access groups alongside targeted support through outreach work.

But councillors in Wem have expressed a number of concerns in relation to the plans.

In a report written to Shropshire Council, clerk of Wem Town Council, Penny O’Hagan, said: “The town council recognises and welcomes the need for more support for the most vulnerable but is concerned that the proposals seem to dismiss the invaluable early intervention work carried out by youth clubs already.

“If Shropshire Council stops providing funding to the youth club to fund the proposed new model, then it is the town council’s opinion this would most probably cause of Wem Youth Club to close.

“The closure of the club could result in significantly more vulnerable young people who are currently supported by the youth club seeking support from Shropshire Council and there will be zero cost savings to the unitary authority as there will be increased demand on other services.

“It is anticipated that there will also be an increased burden placed on the local police team and the town council as if young people have no safe space to access in the town they will be more likely to engage in anti-social behaviour and will become more vulnerable to child sexual exploitation and drug use.”

The council is also concerned over the lack of transparency in the consultation, with no information being provided into where the funding for six more youth workers will come from.

“The town council has serious concerns about this proposal and is dismayed that Shropshire Council has not been transparent in this process by providing information on exactly how they plan to fund the appointment of these new youth workers,” added Ms O’Hagan.

“If as indicated this is to be through the withdrawal of existing financial support to youth clubs then the town council is totally opposed to the proposals.

“Wem already has a youth worker who understands the issues affecting young people living in Wem and over the last three years has gained the trust of some of the most difficult young people in the town.

“For this to be a meaningful consultation Shropshire Council should reconsult and provide information on exactly how these posts are to be funded.”