Fears for future of youngsters in Nottingham as youth services face £360,000 cuts

The chief executive of a Nottingham charity has said she fears for the future of vulnerable young people in Nottingham amid huge funding cuts to her services.

Base 51, which provides a range of services, faces an uncertain future after cash-strapped Nottingham City Council said it would cut funding at the end of this financial year, leaving it £360,000 less than agreed funding over the next two years.

Founded in 1993 and based in Castle Gate, the organization supports children aged 11-25.

He has now launched a ‘Nottingham Children In Crisis’ appeal as part of his fundraising attempts next year to raise £190,000 to ensure their services are not cut.

Jo Jepson, chief executive of the charity, said: ‘The council has run out of money to fund us, how we find that money for the next three years will depend on fundraising and corporate sponsorship. The city council is not the only place where we receive funds, but the funding we receive from them supports the building and the youth clubs.

Base 51 offers gym facilities for as little as £1 for young people, counselling, LGBTQ+ services and support, life skills, crisis drop, psychological support, early prevention work and an education are also part of the services it provides.

Ms Jepson, who has been with the association since 2016, further explained the services and said: “We work with young people and offer holistic services, we see what the needs of young people are and support them, we look at the the whole situation for them, so that they can reintegrate into society better than they were before.

She described her work as ‘rewarding’ and described how some of the young people who used the services went on to be employed by the charity.

She said: ‘Our council grant has been down since 2016. The council has been transparent but we didn’t expect the funding to end, period.

“My gut feeling is that the council is in financial difficulty so we need a plan B. The council is also cutting its own services so we are looking at what our options are we could leave NGY [in Castle Gate].

“We want to work with the City Council to find a way to keep these services going. Our services are postcode neutral, it’s not just important to us Base 51, it could save a young person going through CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services), these referrals are expensive, it’s much cheaper to hold counseling sessions here.”

Ms Jepson explained that it would be incredibly difficult to choose which services to cut. She added: “There has never been a time when youth services need [more] that now. Due to poverty, Covid and crime, there is a loss of opportunities for young people to get to work.

“It’s a concern to worry about what will be here for the youngsters in the future. Nottingham has a strong voluntary sector, but we are all looking for funding.

Councilor Sam Webster, finance and resources portfolio holder at Nottingham City Council, said: ‘We are proposing to reduce the funding we give to a number of external organisations, as our main government grant has been reduced from 127 million in 2013 to just £26 million. now, as the demand for statutory services such as care for the elderly and children in care increases.

“Base 51 has received higher levels of subsidy from the city council than other outside organizations, which we can no longer support. has not been reached.

“Base 51 is not entirely dependent on our grant as it also receives funding from elsewhere, and we will continue to work with them to support funding offers from other sources.”

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