Cllr Jane Pickard, Cabinet Member for Families and Young People, blogs about Lambeth’s commitment to young people
Under Labour, Lambeth council has prioritised giving young people the best start in life and is committed to creating a borough where young people thrive
Since 2010, the funding that the council gets from Government has reduced by more than half including various grants used for work in Children’s Centres.
We have absorbed the bulk of these cuts in order to keep all our 23 Children’s Centres open. We are committed to quality services. All Lambeth’s children’s centres are rated “Outstanding” or “Good’ by Ofsted.
We are working on an innovative strategy to improve our services called Better Start which will make sure public health, early learning, childcare and health services work better together. For example, Better Start will include check points at different ages (including mandatory health checks) to make sure children are progressing as they should.
Separately, in a competitive process we secured a £36 million investment from the Big Lottery Fund over 10 years for our Lambeth Early Action Partnership (LEAP) project which, alongside partners in local health services and community groups, is working with families in some of the most deprived parts of our borough from pregnancy until their child is aged four. We will roll out the lessons learned from the LEAP project across the borough to tackle inequalities in children’s health and achievement so more children are school ready.
Lambeth children go from outstanding children’s centres to outstanding schools. 96% of Lambeth secondary schools and 90% of primary schools are rated Good or Outstanding. The tremendous improvement in our local schools didn’t happen by accident: it required strong local leadership, the dedication of teachers and the involvement of parents, together with significant investment from the last Labour government.
That progress is being put at risk by the Conservatives’ cuts to education. Together with parents and teachers, we fought against huge Tory cuts to local schools last year and we will continue to fight for an increase in school funding that will give our young people the education they deserve.
We are committed to ensuring youth services thrive throughout the borough. By working with the voluntary sector, we’ve kept 14 adventure playgrounds and all our youth clubs open. We established the Young Lambeth Cooperative (YLC), putting youth services in the hands of our young people. We’ve put in place a Youth Mayor, Youth Council and participate in the UK Youth Parliament scheme to give young people a voice and a platform to speak to those in power locally and nationally.
We are promoting policies to make Lambeth London’s most child-friendly borough. We will launch a borough-wide campaign and awards scheme, “Lambeth Made”, to boost the life chances of our children and young people by encouraging businesses and the community to pledge more resources and create more opportunities.
In our manifesto, we commit to supporting youth projects with rent-free premises, advice on fundraising and financial support, ensuring Lambeth benefits from the Mayor’s £45 million Young Londoners Fund. We also pledge to ring-fence funding from our developer tax to invest in services for children and youth services in every part of Lambeth.
We also pledge to improve opportunities for young people as they leave school. Over the next four years, we will ensure that over 1,500 apprenticeships are created in Lambeth. As a leader in the public sector, Lambeth Council will directly create at least 240 apprenticeships within the council by 2022, with priority for new apprenticeships given to young people, adults with disabilities and those furthest from the jobs market.
Additionally, we will exempt Lambeth care leavers from paying council tax until their 25th birthday, helping over 250 young people.
Vote Lambeth Labour on May 3 so we can give young people the best start in life and create a borough where young people can thrive.