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SALFORD CONNEXIONS SLASHED BY CUTS
 

Star date: 3rd February 2011

CONNEXIONS TURNED MY LIFE AROUND…

"They try and encourage young people to get a job or do something, and then they're taking everything away from them…It's horrible and unfair" Danielle, 18

Salford Council looks set to make a huge 46.5% cut to Salford Connexions which gives information, advice and guidance to Salford's young people.

It's reckoned there'll be a loss of 28 jobs, with Connexions outlets in Walkden and Eccles closing too. But it's not just about the job losses. Here a young  mum from Swinton tells her story about how Connexions has helped to get her life back on track.

Read Danielle's true life story here…


Connexions Salford Connexions Salford Connexions Salford
Connexions Salford
click image to enlarge

"If I could speak to the Council I'd tell them not to do it" she says "It's not fair on the young people who leave school..."

Danielle Taylor was just 17 when she discovered that she was five months pregnant…

"I was devastated" she recalls "I didn't want to be pregnant. I mean I wouldn't change my baby for the world now, but at the time it was a shock. I would just sit around, get bored and sick of being at home all the time."

And that could have been it for Danielle, destined to become just another `problem' statistic in Salford Council's never ending strategies which come out with stark statements like, `Teenage parents and their children are at increased risk of living in poverty'*

Instead, after the baby was born, Danielle remembered Connexions from the time she left school and went into the office to have a chat with the agency's worker, Clare Siney.

"She got me onto some kind of scheme at a baby centre and I went there every week with the baby and loved it" says Danielle "Then she got me into Salford College to do a nail course and I've been helped with funding for my kit and uniform. I love it and wouldn't have been there if it hadn't been for Clare and Connexions.

"Now I want to set up my own business but get more qualifications in nails and hairdressing first" she adds "Connexions has given me ambition. But with these cuts young people won't know what's out there for them. They'll just be sat at home like I was before I came to Connexions, or they'll be getting into drugs, fighting…everything."

Despite proclaiming that helping young people who are Not in Education, Employment or Training (the so-called `NEETs') is a major plank of Salford Council's policy, Connexions – which provides information, advice and guidance for young people – has one of the heftiest cuts coming to it at 46.5%, or £1.3million slashed from its budget.

This means 28 staff losses and outlets shutting in Eccles and Walkden, unless the Council does a U-turn. For Salford Council this is about politics and the bottom line. For Danielle it's about a lifeline.

"If I could speak to the Council I'd tell them not to do it" she says "It's not fair on the young people who leave school, they're not going to have as much help as they could have so I don't think the Council should do this. It's horrible.

"The way it's going you need all the support you can get now" she adds "There's no jobs out there so what do they expect people to do? They try and encourage people to get a job or do something and then they're taking everything away from them. It's not going to do anyone any good if Connexions goes."

Danielle's baby, Zak, is now a very sprightly 15 months old and the Care To Learn scheme has enabled her to stay at Salford College by funding a nursery place for two and a half days a week.

"I didn't know anything about that scheme until I got told by Connexions" she says "No-one's going to know what they're entitled to. So it's not just about jobs, it's about people like me who have childcare problems too. What are people going to do about that? Nursery fees are really expensive and the kit for college is also really expensive. There's no way I would have been able to get my qualifications without help from Connexions."

By the end of February over half the current Connexions staff could be made redundant, and the knock on effects to Salford could be more than the Council's bargaining for…

"Socially, the potential is for increased crime and anti social behaviour" says Connexions UNISON rep Sarah Scanlan "There's not going to be as many staff in schools to do that preventative work, to get young people into college places, apprenticeships and other training. And if they're not going to get guidance in schools there's going to be increased college drop out rates. Basically young people need more support at the moment because there's less opportunities, and we need people to find those opportunities and get young people into them."

Education, training and employment for young people is the crucial policy for Salford Council which, to its credit, recognises this as a route out of the city's shocking poverty levels. By reducing Connexions' scope for pointing young people to these routes, the Council, Sarah argues, is storing up future social problems…

"They're going to cost the Council more money, so why not put it into a service that actually, relatively, doesn't cost that much?" she says "They are giving the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra £3million in March – that's our service twice over! They could spread the cuts a bit more evenly through other council departments and you could save all this from happening."

Meanwhile, Danielle's words about the fate of Salford's young people should echo in the ears of every Salford councillor…

"They'll just be sat at home like I was before I came to Connexions, or they'll be getting into drugs, fighting…everything."

 

* Joint Strategic Needs Assessment 2008-13

Further details on Connexions fight against the cuts here


 

Red Dave wrote
at 04:54:26 on 07 February 2011
As all these horrendous cutbacks are being forced upon the working class by tory-toff Dave and his glorious Big-Thatcherite -Society,thereby continuing the deranged legacy of Maggie-the- Drooling-Vegetable Thatcher- the well-known hater of the working class-perhaps a fight- back would be in order. A Workers fight- back on the lines of the Great Poll Tax Riots and the Great Miners Strikes.UNITED THE WORKERS MUST WIN.
 
Matthew wrote
at 11:51:36 on 05 February 2011
Salford needs to follow the example of Liverpool City Council, which has pulled out of Call Me Dave's 'Big Society' project, blaming public spending cuts for undermining the charitable and voluntary organisations that the ConDems believe should take over the running of public services. Someone needs to stand up to this government of ex-public schoolboys - Liverpool has shown the way.
 
Red Dave wrote
at 22:29:50 on 04 February 2011
For a Labour council to over-zealously apply the cuts ordered by rich tory scumbag Cameron and his Thatcherite government is disgraceful .The corrupt,reckless banksters and lying politicians caused this recession - they should pay for it.WE NEED REVOLUTION .
 
jim devine wrote
at 22:28:52 on 04 February 2011
i agree Dave, but the cowardly labour sycophants who destroyed their dignity by voting for that horrible creature Blears are hardly going to respond. Sorry but the truth is we are getting what we deserve and how Merry loves it !!!!!!
 
Red Dave wrote
at 17:56:09 on 04 February 2011
It's an absolute disgrace that the so-called Labour council are so zealously implementing the vile Thatcherite policies of rich-boy Cameron's loathesome government.We need to build a solid resistance movement to oppose ALL cuts .The corrupt banksters and politicians caused this recession - they should pay for it . WE NEED REVOLUTION .
 
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