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Praise for the mobile

Many youth services are failing to reach young people in rural areas, according to Estyn (see above). But inspectors have praised Carmarthenshire's innovative solutions to reaching youths in remote areas.

These include the MOBI - a youth club on wheels, a mobile climbing wall, and a portable paint-balling tunnel.

"These facilities help to ensure that no young person is without some kind of service," Estyn said.

Carmarthenshire council is providing good support services for young people, despite the demands of an ageing and largely rural population, says an inspection of its young people's partnership completed last December.

Inspectors found "extensive services" for the county's youth in an area where the number of pensioners is increasing.

Citing a recent, internal assessment, Estyn acknowledged concerns over many areas of provision for young people, including substance misuse, school exclusions, and 18 to 25-year-olds "often not fitting easily into adult services".

And it awarded only a grade 4 to managers' use of resources, noting that "not enough has been done to map budgets across providers, to match resources to priorities, or ensure good strategies are in place to sustain activities when funding streams end".

Recommendations included better monitoring of resources, more Welsh-language and bilingual provision, and better access to advice and counselling.

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