Bath & North East Somerset Council’s youth support service, Youth Connect is to become an independent Public Service Mutual, registering as a charity with staff being given a say in its future.
Youth Connect supports young people helping them to participate in education, training and employment and to improve their confidence, mental health and relationships.
Last year, staff from the service successfully applied for government funding to develop a business plan to set up a Mutual. This has now gained the full support of the council.
As a Public Service Mutual, Youth Connect will continue to provide support for young people across Bath and North East Somerset, and will have greater flexibility to bid for contracts and increase its offer to young people, including youth work activities.
The service will become a registered charity and will re-invest any profits it makes back into services for young people.
Staff will have a significant degree of influence in how the Public Service Mutual is run and will continue to listen to the views of young people and involve them in developing the service to meet their needs into the future.
Cllr Paul May, cabinet member for Children and Young People, said: “I am delighted that we have been able to support Youth Connect staff in developing this new enterprise and hope that it will have great success in delivering and enhancing the service offer for young people locally.”
Cabinet approved the change ‘in principle’ at the end of October, but requested further ‘due diligence’ work to be carried.
This work has now been completed and it is anticipated that the new organisation will be in place by 1st July 2019. Twenty two staff will transfer from the council to the new Mutual.
Youth Connect will continue to manage the Southside Youth Hub, and following consultation with local people, is in discussions with a number of organisations in order to increase the range of services based there.
The council is in the final stages of negotiations with community groups who hope to take on the management of Riverside and Peasedown St John Youth Hubs, keeping these buildings open for public use and maintaining an open offer of positive activities for young people in both areas.