A VITAL and award-winning youth project is facing closure within months without a funding lifeline.

The G15 Youth Project has been described as “fundamental to keeping children on a safe path” but has seen its council funding cut by nearly two-thirds.

But the Drumchapel charity has vowed they will not be branded “losers” by Glasgow City Council who nearly cut them off completely.

Lead coordinator Joyce Bell told the Post how during conversations with the council while the cuts were being debated, she was told “there will be winners and losers”.

There are now fears that with no alternative funding streams offered from Glasgow City Council and a lack of funders due to the current economic uncertainty, the project will be at a major loss and will not make it through the rest of this financial year.

Joyce said feels the charity was undercut due to spreading the funding too broadly, and not considering the unequal income and skills some other groups benefit from. She explained that the G15 Youth project was pitched against national, highly profitable companies with charitable status, who can afford to hire or employ funding advisers to submit applications on their behalf.

She said: “We are a local group. We all work incredibly hard and 99 per cent of our time is given to the kids.

“We are not trained financial advisers, nor do we have hundreds of hours to spend meticulously drafting and redrafting applications. But my application was solid, and these kids are worth every penny we applied for.

“This project can’t afford to spend thousands of pounds drafting in a qualified fundraising officer, which the council should take into account.”

Jordan Riley, chairperson of the project, hit back at GCC’s decision to slash their funding by 62 percent, he said: “G15 youth project management committee feel very disappointed and let down with this devastating decision by Glasgow city council. We will continue to fight our corner – and in working towards securing a positive outcome and future for G15 youth projects vital service of supporting young people in Drumchapel, the young people of Drumchapel do not deserve and will not accept being losers as part of this new council grant scheme.

“The project received some level of response from a few elected members expressing their own disbelief and disappointment, however, the city administrators and politicians both local and national who represent the area should be collectively ashamed to allow this decision to be approved.

“People make Glasgow? This is clearly not including Drumchapel’s young people.”

Glasgow City Council said no charity received the entire amount of funding it applied for, and insisted funds were issued fairly.

A spokesperson said: “Bids were assessed and scored against a consistent set of criteria, to ensure all were treated fairly.

“Grant awards are based on assessment and scoring of all applications against a consistent set of criteria – It’s not meant to be a partial process.”

The project has been encouraging Drumchapel’s youngsters to attend weekly sessions such as sports and snacks in the local park on weeknights, and guitar and art lessons have also been available via Zoom.

Team members have attended Drumchapel High School to give out free masks and encourage pupils to comply with government guidance.

Throughout lockdown, Joyce and her team provided hot meals, food parcels and mental health support for young people from more than 100 families in the area.

Closure could also see an end to community events like D in the Park, Hallowe’en in the Hills and the Winter Wonderland and Santa’s grotto organised by the group each year.

Youth groups from Shafton (Knightswood), Yoker and Drumchapel were considered as serving the same youngsters, however Joyce highlighted that youngsters in any one area would not likely travel to another due to intimidation and anxiety about being in other areas.

She added: “I just hope the council are aware of the dangers posed by this project closing, when the current kids and those who would have benefited in the future are no longer supported, I dread to think about it.”

Area councillor Elspeth Kerr said: “added that she feels the group should have been entitled to a greater sum, commenting: “There has been no local knowledge or involvement included in the decision making process and this has led to youth groups in Drumchapel having half of their funding cut, despite the community voting at an asset mapping meeting in November 2019 that this was the most important issue to the community.

“This group is fundamental to keeping our children on a safe path. Without it, vulnerable youngsters are at risk of disengaging with support networks.”