London Assembly member Sian Berry visits Kingston’s closed youth clubs with James Giles in protest at council cuts

London Assembly member Sian Berry visited Kingston’s closed youth clubs as part of her campaign against “devastating” service cuts by councils.

Ms Berry visited the borough on Wednesday, February 8, with Kingston Council having announced last year it would be closing four of eight youth clubs, including New Malden’s popular Searchlight centre, as part of funding cuts.

A report released by the Green Party politician last month claimed that 83 per cent of people working in the sector thought cuts to youth services had an effect on crime and anti-social behaviour.

Ms Berry said: “Government cuts have hit all London councils hard, and youth services have been put on the chopping block across our city as a result.

“The impact of these cuts could be devastating. Good quality youth services help prevent young people from falling into crime and also make them less vulnerable to the exploitation of groups like gangs.”

The repot was based on freedom of information requests sent to each borough council and found that all south-west London authorities had cut funding in the last five years.

Ms Berry has called on London Mayor Sadiq Khan to step in to help save youth clubs, claiming it would help achieve City Hall’s ambitions for crime prevention in London.

Across London more that £22m was cut from youth service budgets in five years, an average of £1m per council.

Achieving for Children, Kingston and Richmond’s joint child services provider, had its budget cut by just less than £200,000.

New Malden campaigner James Giles said: “It was a pleasure to welcome Sian to Kingston to highlight cuts to the youth service that have affected young people all across the borough.

“I’m sure all young people will agree that investment in the youth service is vital, which is why the recent report by Sian on London’s lost youth services is very gratefully received.”

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