SOUTHEND United's youth system will be run by the club's community foundation from next season.

The Shrimpers operated just an under 19 team during the previous campaign after losing funding following relegation from the EFL

And further changes have now been made.

Blues chief executive Tom Lawrence said: “The loss of funding when we dropped out of the EFL meant that we have had to make tough decisions around our Youth programme.

"We believe that funding for academy programmes should cascade down to National League club’s operating Cat 3 programmes to avoid situations like this where good set-ups need to be dismantled.

"We have made our views on this known to the National League Board, and we will be raising the point again at the forthcoming National League AGM.

"Moving the youth programme to our Community Foundation will enable us to concentrate our efforts and resource on exiting the National League.

"I am grateful to Gary Lockett (Chairman of SUCF) and Dale Spiby (CEO of SUCF) for their support.

I hope we make a return to the EFL soon so we can resurrect our elite programme and continue to develop local talent.”

Dale Spiby added “The Community Foundation has delivered the education provision to the youth team for many years.

"The last three seasons have been tough for all concerned, including the academy staff and players.

"By integrating the academy into the Community Foundation, it will allow us to use our existing infrastructure to support the needs of the youth programme and give them the best opportunity of producing players capable of performing in our first team.

"Losing all funding to support the delivery of an elite performance programme means we need to change the way we do things; we’re hoping this is for a short period of time and the first team gain promotion at the next attempt.

"Until that happens our aim is to maintain the same level of quality and pride we have always had in the academy.”