Ls£ash, Leeds’ brand of the Youth Opportunity and Youth Capital Fund looks like it will be an early victim of the new cuts. Over the last 2 years our Participation Team have done some fantastic work setting up and supporting panels of young people from across the city to assess and award grant funding for young person-led programmes.
Young people’s panels run locally across Leeds. Dozens of trained young panel members make decisions about the funding of applications made by thousands of other young people across the city. Each year they’ve allocated hundreds of thousands of pounds. Some grants are for just a few hundred pounds, others tens of thousands. They’ve funded young people’s trips out of Leeds in the summer holidays. They’ve given money to small voluntary groups to support gardening projects. They support sport, health, leisure, learning and most importantly, good youth work!
But now the cuts are coming and it looks like this great programme could be one of the first to go. Not only is LS£ash looking like it will have its funding pulled early but some of the decisions the panels made back in March and April have still not been paid out, leaving voluntary groups and others hanging on, unable to plan their summer activities.
Of course we know the cuts are coming. And we know we’re in the firing line as much as anyone else. But with LS£ash being singled out so early on, it’s left me more than a little concerned about the impact of the decisions to come. If adults or employed professionals were facing an overnight halting of some great work would this decision have been made quite so easily? Wouldn’t there be a big campaign? Wouldn’t the powers that be think twice?
Let’s start our campaign to make sure young people aren’t bulldozered and any cuts apply fairly to young people and adults!