Thousands of people have voiced their opposition to staff cuts being planned for the Vale of Glamorgan’s youth service. Vale of Glamorgan council is planning to reduce the number of staff in its youth service from 53 to 25 and close Llantwit Major Youth Centre. Front-line youth workers would be cut from 48 to just nine staff as the council aims to create a ‘mobile’ youth service with fewer employees in part-time posts. But the earnings of the youth workers who are set to remain would be slashed as their working hours would be reduced from 37 to 25 hours per year – with pay based on 39 weeks each year. The council, which stands to save £63,000 over due years from the changes, said it wants youth services to be more sustainable and effective. Councillor Helen Payne, Barry town councillor and youth worker, said she’s helped to collect 2,500 signatures for a petition against the changes, which was handed to the council at its full council meeting on Wednesday night (April 25). She said: “The value of youth work will never be known entirely until you’re older. It’s really important we maintain our youth services – the value of youth work is so important to young people. “We have the highest rates of mental health call outs in the whole of the South Wales Police area, we have rural areas in the Vale of Glamorgan that need services. “We need to engage young people because it’s a useful service, people need something to do and it has an impact on people’s lives.” Community groups would be encouraged to support youth work in the county by taking control of premises and supporting the delivery of youth programmes. The proposed youth service changes will be discussed further by the Vale of Glamorgan’s cabinet on Monday April 30. Councillor Bob Penrose, cabinet member for learning and skills, told Wednesday night’s meeting the youth service provision is not being cut. Mr Penrose said although there would be fewer roles in the service after the reorganisation, they would have longer hours and be for fully qualified youth workers. He said: “There seems to be a false assumption that what is proposed is a cut to the youth service provision. This is not the case. “I’m very aware of the positive role of the youth service in reducing antisocial behaviour. That is why the proposed changes to the delivery model of youth services will not lead to a cut in the universal provision. “The amount of youth work undertaken in all areas will at least be compatible at the current levels.” He added Llantwit Major’s Youth Centre is the last facility of its kind operating in the Vale of Glamorgan and said it would be replaced with a ‘youth bus’ which “is very popular with young people in the area.”