THE recent rise of anti-social behaviour across our community is shocking but should not be a surprise to anyone.

The past 10 years of cuts to youth services, schools and the lack of facilities available to young people, have created the conditions for this kind of behaviour to flourish.

This situation has occurred with the continued depletion of youth services, where the last decade has seen 71 per cent of funding cuts to youth services and schools have had their funding cut from £5,000 per child to £4,700 (since 2015).

These cuts potentially damage the long-term skills, mental health and support of our young people, while also not giving them a place where they can feel safe.

In Skipton we are already seeing some of the effects of these cuts; people starting to smoke in their early teens, people in school spending their free time drinking and doing drugs, along with a visible rise of groups of young people all around Skipton creating ant-social behaviour.

There is an easy way to stop this trend before it creates further detriment to our community and our young people.

It is essential we see an increase of funding to our youth services. Why not open a youth centre in Skipton, where young people can be in a safe environment, feel safe and not cause any concerns on our streets.

It is essential we push the Government to increase funding in schools to levels we have not seen since the last Labour Government and put in more support for young people to help them deal with stress and the mental health issues that are so rampant in our schools today.

We have a choice between increasing funding for our young people and keep Craven as one of the nicest and safest places to grow up; or continue down the dangerous path of abandoning our young people, which will harm the local area through rising anti-social behaviour, an increase in crime and rising deprivation.

Matthew McEwan (a young person)