Connexions office in Aylesbury to close
A service which supports young people with employment or educational issues is losing its Aylesbury base.
The Connexions office in Temple Street, Aylesbury, will close at the end of this month – and staff will instead meet clients at libraries, job centres, coffee shops and homes.
The move comes after cash-strapped Bucks County Council more than halved the funding it provides to the service.
The Connexions name will be phased out over the coming months and the service will operate under the name of Adviza, which is the non-profit organisation commissioned by County Hall to manage Connexions.
Councillor Zahir Mohammed, cabinet member for education and skills, said he was pleased the service would continue under Adviza.
He admitted that the council had faced some very tough decisions in this year’s budgeting process. The cuts will also impact careers guidance at the county’s schools.
Council funding will now only cover support for learners with special educational needs or Education, Health and Care Plans (ECHPs) and not pupils at risk of leaving school without work, training or further education.
Schools that had previously bought careers guidance for all its pupils may now be forced to use their individual budget to cover costs for those most at risk.
Carolyn Taylor, Adviza’s careers advice manager, anticipates growing concerns among parents about the declining level of careers guidance provision for their child as they face their options in years 11, 12 and 13.
She said: “As a charity our first priority is to make sure that the most vulnerable get the support they need and we will work hard to help schools continue to meet this objective. But all young people have a right to impartial and professional support to make the right choices about their future and the reduced budgets will have a knock on effect,” she said.
Katharine Horler, Adviza’s CEO, thanked Mr Mohammed for his help to prevent cuts to the Time to Talk youth counselling service, which is also managed by Adviza.
Mr Mohammed successfully secured transitional funds for that project.
Adviza said the council has also been supportive of the charity’s efforts to seek alternative funding, and has been an investor in a social impact bond that Adviza developed.