PARENTS could have to fork out for after-school and holiday activities for children which used to be provided for free.

Proposals to establish a strategic youth alliance responsible for coordinating activities and provision in the borough during term-time and key holiday periods were approved at a Blackburn with Darwen Council executive board meeting.

And bosses have warned there could be a potential cost to access provision they previously got for free.

Activities were previously handled directly by the council’s young people’s service but that has been withdrawn to meet a £313,000 savings target.

The young people’s services budget of £1.15 million has been reduced by £313,000 from 2019/20 and the remaining budget is invested in a £517,000 targeted youth support service as well as a £170,000 commission to Blackburn Youth Zone.

This leaves £150,000 available to develop future neighbourhood youth work.

The current universal neighbourhood youth work provision costs about £400,000 per year.

Now a three-way partnership will be set up between the council, Blackburn Youth Zone (BYZ) and Blackburn Rovers Community Trust (BRCT), with each partner contributing funds.

The council is investing £150,000 with 100 per cent match funding from BRCT and additional resources will be provided by BYZ to contribute to delivering the neighbourhood offer.

The board will be supported by a youth alliance network consisting of key youth sector partners already delivering in neighbourhoods to increase the provision available to children and young people.

The council will initially lead the board and establish key governance and monitoring arrangements.

Cllr Maureen Bateson, executive member for children, young people and education, said: “The council has had to make budget savings and we have decided we need to spend the money we have left on targeted youth services for young people who need extra help and support and children with disabilities and special needs.

“We have always provided a universal service so we have got together with two of our main providers in the Youth Zone and BRCT.

“They will form the board of the new youth alliance.

“I am hoping that young people will play a big part in this by identifying the areas and what they want so we are delivering for these young people.

“It is hoped that we can start on April 1 and try our best to ensure every part of the borough is covered.”