Schools could help tackle youth crime by hosting more out-of-hours activities for youngsters, according to councillors.

Proposals to encourage schools to play a bigger role in providing youth services were discussed at a meeting of Haringey Council’s Children and Young People’s Scrutiny Panel last week (Thursday, September 6).

Drastic cuts to youth services in response to government austerity measures mean there is only one remaining council-run youth centre in the borough – Bruce Grove Youth Centre in Tottenham.

With Haringey currently in the grip of a knife-crime problem, councillors were keen to look at using schools as alternatives to youth centres.

The council is expected to scrap plans for a Youth Zone provided in partnership with OnSide at a cabinet meeting this evening (Tuesday, September 11).

Cllr Julie Davies, Labour member for St Ann’s ward, said people objected to the OnSide development because young people said they did not like travelling long distances to access youth services due to safety fears.

She said: “Could we not also be using school premises for youth services, because the kids know how to get there, they feel safe going there, they feel safe coming back?

“I would feel certain that even the schools that are no longer Haringey schools have got some kind of moral commitment to what students do in the evening. That seems to me the logical way to go.”

Cllr Davies added that secondary schools had been given neighbourhood learning centres where they could host out-of-hours activities under the last government.

She said: “Where I live, Park View (secondary school) has got a magnificent new building on West Green road.

“I think we have got somewhat of a moral high ground in going back to every single school and saying ‘it is payback time’, and saying you have got the premises, then we are looking at staffing it – and that seems to me to be achievable.”

Cllr Mark Blake, cabinet member for communities, safety and engagement, said he agreed with Cllr Davies and pledged to follow up on the proposal.

Councillor James Chiriyankandath, Labour member for Bounds Green, suggested the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London could play a role in youth services provision.

Councilllors also discussed trying to reduce the number of school exclusions in a bid to cut rates of offending.

Cllr Blake proposed looking at ways of ensuring schools benefit from keeping pupils in education after pointing out that 70 per cent of youngsters who are dealt with by the youth offending service had been excluded from school.

The council cut its youth services budget by 75 per cent in 2011 as part of £41 million-worth of savings made due to central government cutbacks.

Cllr Blake claimed youth services had been “decimated” in Haringey and London as a whole.

He said: “We are committed in our new manifesto to find some extra investment. That is going to be very tough, but we are committed to do that.

“I think we still have some kind of infrastructure around services for young people in Tottenham; I’m concerned in terms of Wood Green and Hornsey in particular we have really no infrastructure at all.

“A key objective for me is to get some kind of youth hub in Wood Green moving forward. Somewhere where we could provide generic youth work but also where we could maybe house some generic organisations.”