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Suffolk leaders pledge £1m for youth unemployment scheme after Mygo closure

PUBLISHED: 14:00 14 July 2018

The Mygo office in Lowestoft Picture: ARCHANT

The Mygo office in Lowestoft Picture: ARCHANT

Archant

Suffolk leaders have pledged £1m to tackle youth unemployment across the county.

Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore said it was important young people had a direction in life Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNSuffolk Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore said it was important young people had a direction in life Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Figures presented to the Suffolk Public Sector Leaders meeting on Friday revealed that more than 4,800 16 to 24-year-olds across Suffolk were not in education, employment or training (NEET).

The meeting was told that more than half of all NEETs were in that position for 20 weeks or more.

Concerns were raised that these youngsters were being left behind, with Suffolk also having a higher rate of youngsters returning as NEETs after being helped into work or training.

To combat the issue, Suffolk County Council has pledged £600,000 over the next three years, while the Suffolk Public Sector Leaders group agreed to front £400,000 for the next two years from retained business rates and the Transformation Challenge Award – a pot of cash for public service improvements.

Matthew Hicks said it was right there was a focus on youngsters not in employment, education or training Picture: GREGG BROWNMatthew Hicks said it was right there was a focus on youngsters not in employment, education or training Picture: GREGG BROWN

It means that schemes can be developed across the county focusing on problems particular to each area, which leaders hope will see numbers reduce.

Tim Passmore, Suffolk police and crime commissioner, who was at the meeting, said: “I am very supportive of this.

“Making sure young people have a purpose in life is really, really important and we all know the difficulties they face if we don’t do that.

“I am very pleased to see a long term commitment.”

The announcement comes in the wake of the Mygo Centre closure in March – a dedicated facility in Ipswich tasked with helping NEETs into employment, education or training.

Existing projects in Lowestoft, Newmarket and Haverhill among others are set to work alongside the councils, while schemes will be set up in areas where there currently isn’t any provision.

It is not yet clear what these projects may be called or how they will work, but it is understood that each of the district and borough councils will be heavily involved in how the cash is used.

Progress will be reviewed regularly and issues addressed where they arise.

Suffolk County Council leader Matthew Hicks added: “I think it is really right we focus on NEETs, and I like the place-based approach.

“It gives people more confidence on the ground that we know what is working in those areas.”

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