Staff cuts to Vale of Glamorgan’s youth service have been described as a “betrayal of young people”.

Vale of Glamorgan Council’s cabinet decide don Wednesday, June 6, to reduce the number of staff in its youth service from its current level of 53 to 25.

The changes, which also involve Llantwit Major Youth Centre and Western Vale Integrated Children’s Centre being declared surplus to requirements, have been planned as the council wants a more “mobile” youth service with more full-time staff.

But two trade unions have united in their condemnation against the youth service changes, as has Barry town councillor Helen Payne.

Councillor Payne, who collected 2,500 for signatures for a petition against the plan, said this was not the end of her campaign and she would find a way to continue fighting the plans.

She said: “This is not the end. This is just the beginning. We’re going to continue our campaign.

“I’m not happy with the fact that young people have not been consulted. It’s a betrayal of young people in the Vale. It’s not based on their needs.”

Andrew Woodman, Unison regional organiser, described the decision as “a travesty for young people and the community”.

He said: “They will lose the dedicated support of qualified youth workers and all sorts of opportunities and support. This is the largest block of redundancies the Vale council has ever seen. The council has ignored expert opinion which says: remove youth services and you are likely to see an increase in anti-social behaviour and crime.

“This fight isn’t over and we’ll continue to pressurise the council to protect youth worker jobs and maintain vital community services.”

The council has previously said its changes will produce a more reliable youth service with fewer staff absences and would be able to reach more young people than it can now.

But Jo Galazka, regional officer for Unite, said trade unions had been ignored by the council.

She said: “Youth workers have been left stunned at the behaviour of the council cabinet, railroading such severe cuts through and brushing aside the concerns of local people and the staff themselves.”

Cllr Bob Penrose, Vale of Glamorgan Council cabinet member for learning and culture, said: “The council is looking to restructure its youth service provision in an effort to ensure greater efficiency. Under the proposals exactly the same level of provision would be offered across the Vale. The service in Llantwit Major will be provided by mobile youth officers using the council’s hi-tech youth bus, which consultation exercises have demonstrated is very popular with young people. This will be a key component of the council’s revamped youth service going forward.

“The youth cabinet and youth action groups, which make up the Vale Youth Forum, have been consulted as part of this process and many of the proposed changes have been inspired by their responses. That feedback and the minutes of the meetings have been shared with the Children’s Commissioner’s Office and they are content with our approach.

“We are proposing changes to staff contracts to reduce the number of part-time posts. Many youth workers have multiple contracts and others have work for as little as three hours a week.

“The changes would see fewer posts but the restructure will mean posts available for more permanent hours per week.

“Any staff affected by these changes will be offered the opportunity to apply for the new roles in the service and for redeployment within the council while redundancy would be approached on a case-by-case basis.”