Keighley teenagers lead plea to ‘spare’ youth services

Keighley News: Lauren Adams and Jamie Hutchinson, both 17, who are campaigning against cuts in Bradford Council’s youth services Lauren Adams and Jamie Hutchinson, both 17, who are campaigning against cuts in Bradford Council’s youth services

A pair of Keighley teenagers are helping to lead a campaign to try to head off planned cuts to Bradford Council’s Youth Service.

Lauren Adams and Jamie Hutchinson, both 17-year-olds who attend Oakbank School, have organised a petition and a rally to persuade the council not to cut the youth service’s budget by 79 per cent during the next two years.

The huge reduction in funding would see the number of youth workers slashed from one in each Bradford Council ward to two per parliamentary constituency.

Lauren and Jamie have been campaigning against this move alongside Bradford College Students’ Union president, Piers Telemacque.

Jamie, who has been a youth volunteer in Keighley for three-and-a-half years, said he was “disgusted” when he first heard about the proposed cuts.

“They’re trying to say there would still be a youth service, but there won’t be,” he warned. “All it would be is ‘things to do for young people’, and that isn’t enough. Young people need support and guidance too.”

Lauren said: “The youth service has changed so many people’s lives.

“I used to be a little rebel, who got kicked out of school. The youth service helped me change, and because of that, I’m now in the sixth form and achieving loads.

“I was devastated when I heard about the cuts – not just for me, but for other young people in Keighley and Bradford who won’t get the support they need. It’s heartbreaking.”

Campaigners have set up a Save Bradford Youth Service Facebook page, a Twitter account and collected more than 3,100 signatures opposing the cuts, which they presented to Bradford councillors in City Hall last week.

The Oakbank students said they plan to stage another rally outside City Hall in January next year, and will also send district councillors signed Christmas cards featuring the message ‘All I want for Christmas is a youth service’.

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