Dorset Council say regions youth still "absolutely" on their radar

Youth are still a priority for Dorset Council despite not renewing the contract for their youth officer. 

Mayor Greg Howard said the council intends to continue the role. 

“It might not be exactly the same role, but we do intend to have a youth worker of some sort,” he said. “We intend that the role will be expanded more than what it is at the moment.” 

He said the aim of the revamped role would be to give Dorset youth a chance to learn things they wouldn’t at school, such as entrepreneurship. 

“Because of the changing nature of the economy in the North-East it is likely that a lot of people will need to start up small businesses,” Cr Howard said. 

“We’d like to be able to give at least an insight into that sort of thing and make them aware that working for yourself is a genuine job and opportunity.” 

He said the youth had “absolutely not” fallen off the council’s radar. 

“Originally that youth worker role was fully funded by the federal government and that funding ran out in December last year. We continued to fund it out of our ratepayer’s funds for six months until the end of June,” Cr Howard said. 

“Then we sat down and had a look at the way we were running it wasn’t necessarily the best spend of ratepayers funds.” 

Cr Howard said discussions about the revamped role would be held at the council’s August workshop. 

“After we have done that we can look at recruiting someone with the necessary skills that will be able to try and cover all the avenues that we want to pursue,” he said. 

Cr Howard said the previous youth officer did good things for the region’s youth. 

“The program in the past has been more about physical activity and was called the Active Youth Program. It was about getting kids out of arm chairs and away from screens and getting them outside,” he said. 

“Whilst we totally applaud that, and the kids really enjoyed them and the outcomes were really good, there is more to a youth program than just an active youth program.”

Council is also looking to quickly reinstate the “mixed” community development officer role. 

“We have combined roles and sometimes when you do that unfortunately people then don’t fit the role,” Cr Howard said. 

“We are really comfortable about what we’re trying to achieve … Now we just have to get some of these other roles performing at the same rate as the economic ones.”