Un­em­ployed will be hit by Connexions clo­sures

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NEWS -

The two cen­tres, in Ayles­bury and High Wy­combe, which have been on the high streets for more than a decade, will close on Thurs­day, March 24 af­ter bud­gets were more than halved by Buck­ing­hamshire County Coun­cil for 2016/17.

Connexions is a lo­cal au­thor­ity funded ser­vice for young peo­ple who are at risk of be­com­ing, or are al­ready, un­em­ployed and not in education or train­ing.

How­ever, de­spite the cuts the ser­vice will con­tinue. Connexions staff will meet young peo­ple at li­braries, job cen­tres, coffee shops and even at homes.

The Connexions name will be phased out over the com­ing months and the ser­vice will op­er­ate un­der the name of Ad­viza, which is the non-profit or­gan isa t ion com­mis­sioned by BCC to man­age Connexions.

The coun­cil’s cab­i­net mem­ber for education and skills Coun­cil­lor Zahir Mo­hammed vis­ited the Connexions cen­tre in Cas­tle Street, High Wy­combe, last week and told staff that de­spite the cen­tres clos­ing he was pleased the ser­vice would con­tinue un­der Ad­viza.

He ad­mit­ted the coun­cil had faced some very tough de­ci­sions in this year’s bud­get­ing process.

Ad­viza’s CEO Katharine Hor­ler thanked Mr Mo­hammed for his help to pre­vent cuts to the Time to Talk youth coun­selling ser­vice, which is also man­aged by Ad­viza.

He suc­cess­fully se­cured tran­si­tional funds for that pro­ject.

The coun­cil has also been sup­port­ive of the char­ity’s ef­forts to seek al­ter­na­tive fund­ing, and has been an in­vestor in a so­cial im­pact bond that Ad­viza de­vel­oped.

Cuts will also school bud­gets. im­pact

BCC fund­ing will now only cover sup­port for learn­ers with spe­cial ed­u­ca­tional needs or Education, Health and Care Plans (ECHPs) and not pupils at risk of leav­ing school with­out work, train­ing or fur­ther education.

Ad­viza’s ca­reers ad­vice man­ager Carolyn Tay­lor an­tic­i­pates grow­ing con­cerns among par­ents about the de­clin­ing level of ca­reers guid­ance pro­vi­sion for their child as they face their op­tions in years 11, 12 and 13.

She said: “As a char­ity our first pri­or­ity is to make sure that the most vul­ner­a­ble get the sup­port they need and we’ll work hard to help schools con­tinue to meet this ob­jec­tive.”

Holis­tic ther­a­pist Caro­line Mor­daunt chats with Sadie Webb, 14 and below, Ryan Hor­ridge, 15, checks out a ca­reer in education with Gill Byrne of Astra Scitt

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