To all Parents, Young People and Friends of Epic,

As you may know, we have recently made the extremely difficult decision to initiate an orderly wind-up of Epic CIC. With the reduction in the overall level of funding for youth services since December 2018, and despite a lot of hard work, our operating model has come under increasing strain, such that the organisation finds itself in an unsustainable financial position.  Wanting to do what we can to try to minimise disruption to children and young people and their families, we have decided that an orderly wind-up was the appropriate course of action under the circumstances. 

If you have any queries, please feel free to reach out to: [email protected]

We have now been informed that the Council will not, at the present time, be re-commissioning the services  that Epic will stop delivering at the end of April. Whilst we accept that this makes sense on one level, given the current lock-down situation, we believe that this short-term approach, combined with the absence of any visible medium-long term plan or strategy, risks failing  children, young people, their families and communities.

We have written a letter to Councillors and senior Council officers, challenging them to take a different approach.  The key points are summarised below: 

  • Responding to the coronavirus epidemic is a challenge of extreme proportions.  Not just for those involved in government, both national and local, but also those organisations and charities trying to support their communities through the crisis.  It falls to all of us to do what we can to support the national effort.
  • Effective strategy has to be based on assumptions - we cannot know the future with 100% certainty.  The key assumption that the Council seems to be making at present is that the ‘medium term and longer term needs and requirements are unclear’.
  • We disagree.  As and when the lockdown restrictions are lifted (and we should hope and plan for sooner rather than later), it is surely safe to  assume that the pre-virus needs and requirements of children and young people (eg. physical and mental health, jobs and work, SYV etc) will still be there, only their depth and scale will be far, far greater.  
  • Indeed, action may well be required before restrictions are lifted.  With reported increases in domestic violence and early indications of an increase in suicide rates among young people, there are emerging signs that the social costs of lockdown might begin to outweigh the health benefits.  
  • What plans are the Council developing to deal with this eventuality?  When will the Council be publishing a strategic response?
  • Central Government is breaking all accepted norms in an attempt to preserve the economy and jobs. Surely the Council should be taking a similar approach in an attempt to protect children and young people?  
  • So, we urge and challenge the Council to be more strategic, innovative and brave in their response.  Taking the line that it is ‘an emerging picture’, with its implicit ‘wait-and-see approach’, is not good enough.  A different approach is required. That approach should include protecting capability and capacity in the system, so that it is ready to respond as soon as restrictions are lifted, or before.  
  • To summarise, based on the current ‘plan’, as of 1st May, the play and youth service system will be in a far worse position to deal with what is likely to be a far greater need. 

After we sent our letter to the Council, the Back Youth Alliance sent an open letter to the Government, urging them to ‘harness the power of the youth sector in the covid-19 crisis’.  It raises many of the same points. You can view this letter by clicking here

If you or a family member are affected by the lack of support, or if you simply want to express your concerns, please get in touch with your relevant Councillors - see below: