HUNDREDS of thousands of pounds more will be spent providing better services and facilities for young people across the county.

North Yorkshire County Council education service has agreed to increase the amount it spends each year on services for its 50,000 13 to 19-year-olds.

A further £400,000 will be added to the £1.6m that is spent each year, with an opportunity to spend an extra £200,000 on capital projects.

It is also proposed that the three-year transforming youth work plan will have an additional £800,000 to spend next year and the year after, bringing the total budget up to meet Government guidelines for a council the size of North Yorkshire.

Terry Begley, education officer for community learning development, said: "There are examples of superb work going on with young people, the plan will look at the best practice, enhance it and make it grow.

"Social issues affecting young people do exist in North Yorkshire - not to the same scale as in major cities admittedly - but there are pockets of high levels of deprivation in some of our towns, and unique issues in a county as rural and sparsely populated as ours."

The plan, written after consultation with young people, education staff and partner organisations, will provide a framework for change.

"It lists proposals to develop residential and international youth work, sports, work-related learning and reintegration programmes for at-risk groups.

"Why shouldn't they have cafs that look like Central Park from Friends if that's what they want," said Mr Begley.

"And in a county like ours having mobile facilities - such as an Internet bus or a recording studio - is an absolute must. By doing this we are responding to the needs of young people in the 21st Century."