TEENAGERS had the ears of politicians when they spoke of the success of recent activities.

Members of four youth groups in Keighley addressed Keighley Area Committee during a debate on the funding of local work.

The committee had met to discuss a report on how the council’s Youth Service was responding to massive cuts in its budget.

As part of a presentation, young people told councillors about the positive contribution the Service’s activities were making to their lives.

Members of the BCA group, set up two years ago for girls from a South Asian background, explained how they had become more involved in their own communities and made links with girls from other areas. The expanding group now has 35 members of different backgrounds.

Members of the LGBT+ youth group Sound, who were heavily involved in the first Keighley Pride event, explained how group had allowed them to be honest about their sexuality.

They discussed incidents of homophobia, but said the group provided them with a safe place to be themselves.

Community Action Group members had been able to befriend people from different communities, do voluntary work, carry out a community clean-up, and gain accreditation for learning new skills.

Members of the Young Ambassadors group reported on their visit to London to visit the House of Commons, and their plans for a summit on immigration, crime and policing. The group, which has links an American group, aims to provide a voice for all young people in Keighley.

The area committee thanked Sound members for helping make Keighley Pride a success. It thanked all the young people and youth workers for their efforts in Keighley, and gave assurances that it would try to retain local services for young people.

The meeting heard that the district-wide Youth Service faced a budget cut of £513,000 in the next financial year, 25% of its base budget. The Keighley budget youth sessions will reduce by £23,000 £67,000.

The Service is responding to the cuts by by reducing staff, generating alternative income for some of its services, and searching for grant funding.

Cllr Abid Hussain, chairman of the area committee, said he was impressed by the young people and the “fabulous” efforts of youth workers across Keighley.

He added: “As councillors throughout the district we want to protect the Youth Service and minimise cuts, because the young people are our ambassadors.”