Just months after being slated by Ofsted for failing vulnerable children, a county council plans to withdraw funding from a group that supports vulnerable youngsters.
Two days before Christmas, Buckingham & Winslow Young Carers (YC2) was told it could expect to lose all its annual funding of £7,500 from Bucks County Council (BCC).
Staffed entirely by volunteers, YC2 runs a support group for 32 young carers aged seven to 19 in north Bucks.
Young carers are children who have significant caring responsibilities that would normally be undertaken by an adult.
YC2 organiser Margo Parfitt said the youngsters have a variety of caring roles. Some help care for an autistic sibling, while others have parents with physical or mental health problems or addictions.
The only funding for YC2’s monthly club night at Buckingham Youth Club is its £7,500 grant from Bucks County Council.
The group fundraises to pay for outings such as a trip to see Peter Pan at Milton Keynes Theatre last week.
Mrs Parfitt said: “We make sure they’re safe and they have an outlet to be children.
“For a few hours they get to be themselves. That’s what they miss out on.”
YC2 is part of the charity Community Care North Bucks. Chairman Keith Croxton, said: “The possible withdrawal of funding for young carers in north Bucks will bring considerable dismay and I suspect much distress to the families and friends of the young carers in our community.
“It has also caused much anger amongst the wonderful team of volunteers that run the young carers club and the board of trustees. I hope that the representations being currently made will bring about a change of heart from Bucks County Council.”
Diane Rutter of Community Impact Bucks told BCC’s Budget Scrutiny Select Committee meeting on Monday: “The risks of stopping this are huge – young carers left unsupported, increased strain on the family unit, potentially the people they currently care for ending up requiring paid-for care, and young people under extreme stress can go off the rails.”
BCC’s service director Chris Munday, said: “It’s regrettable that with huge pressures on our budget we need to make savings. However, we’d like to work with them to explore alternative funding sources, and we’re talking with Carers Bucks, who have a contract with the county council, to see how together we can best meet the needs of young carers in Winslow and Buckingham.”