Grant boost for Somerset youth clubs

Twenty-eight Somerset youth clubs have shared £108,000 in grants from Somerset County Council to help run popular sessions.

The grants will support new and existing projects across the county. Teenage members of the Somerset Youth Parliament Advisory Group were asked by the Council to make the decisions about how to allocate the fund.

Cabinet member for Children and Young People, Councillor Frances Nicholson, said: “Over the last few years Somerset County Council has moved from delivering youth work to enabling and supporting communities to develop their own provision suited to their local needs, often provided by volunteers whose work is incredibly valuable. These grants are part of the County’s support to communities and add to funding contributed or raised by communities themselves.

“I am particularly pleased at the work of the young people who have been trained to judge the applications for grants and I am impressed by their ability to stick to the required criteria. The project has provided very useful experience and life skills for the panel as well as benefiting the youth clubs who will receive the grants.”

Taunton Deane and West Somerset Member of the UK Youth Parliament, Ellen Collard, said: “It’s been a great privilege reading through a record number of applications! I feel that the money awarded to the clubs will really help the young people of my constituency – all the clubs offer significant help to the young people of Somerset.”

Eloise Chapman is a member of the UK Youth Parliament Advisory Group. She said “During these two days we’ve allocated £28,000 to Sedgemoor. I feel pleased that the group have been able to provide young people with so many youth clubs in the area, by giving new clubs the financial help they need to get started and also giving funding to extend and improve existing clubs. The days were tough, but very worthwhile and the whole group are pleased with the decisions.”

Jake Pitt, Member of the Youth Parliament for Mendip said “I was delighted that we were able to award nearly £20,000 to youth clubs and groups across Mendip. In times of service cutbacks, it is great to see community groups taking ownership of their local services. Youth clubs can really transform communities, so I look forward to supporting other groups and organisations looking to deliver youth work in the future.” Eve Anderson, Deputy Member of the Youth Parliament for Mendip, added “I am overjoyed that we were able to give grants to all the clubs we wanted to. We have been able to give grants to new projects, as well as existing groups across the whole of Somerset. It was a hard job but it was worthwhile.”

Josh Bennett and William Duncan are members of the Youth Parliament Advisory Group who live in South Somerset. Josh and William said “We feel the grant giving process has been carried out very well. South Somerset has received a large amount of grants and youth clubs can continue to operate. This gives us a great sense of achievement and we are glad to be part of the process.”