A Deputy is calling for funding for assistant youth workers to help children with special needs access the Youth Service and to also transition beyond it.
Deputy Inna Gardiner made the amendments to the Government Plan last week, saying the inclusion project "is unique and must be maintained."
The Inclusion Project was set up 17 years ago, and caters to young people with special needs and disabilities aged between 11 to 25 years of age, running a number of sessions every week for them, including four youth club sessions, two sports sessions and one drop-in session
The amendment both asks for £53,266 of funding to the CYPES department to ensure the retention of a full-time assistant youth worker for the programme, as well as £27,000 for 2022 to allow the service to employ an additional part-time assistant youth worker to support a two-year pilot Transition Programme.
Pictured: A comparison between the capabilities of the service with and without the employment of a full-time Youth Worker for the Youth Service project.
Though the project's initial small numbers in its formative years meant that it was funded through charities, with increased funding the Deputy noted that "this funding is no longer viable", with charities advising they are no longer prepared to fund the Project unless the government takes responsibility for the funding of the youth workers' salary.
She added that another pilot scheme for the Inclusion Project, which focuses on giving young people access to opportunities after the youth programme and filling a gap in services, would need an additional part-time Youth Worker for the next two years.
In a report accompanying her amendment, Deputy Gardiner states that the "Inclusion Project provides opportunities for young people with special needs to access generic or specialist Youth Service provision.
"It currently offers opportunities for young people who may either be on the autistic spectrum, have a learning difficulty, physical difficulty, or a sensory impairment.
"The Inclusion Project has island wide membership. It has run for the last 17 years and is an invaluable resource and friendship for the young people accessing it."
She added that "any reduction" in service would have a "profound impact on these young people," and that to " let this service fall away would be against the spirit of the human rights law (children, young people and adults) and is contrary to the spirit of Disability and Inclusion Strategy and disability discrimination law... and our Government strategic priority."
The Government Plan will be debated in the States Assembly next month.
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