We’ve received the following report and photos from the remarkable group of young people fighting youth centre closures in Oxfordshire. Where possible we should do everything in our power to respond to their call to make links with other young people refusing to lie down.
STOP PRESS : Just as we’re making the post, we’ve received a Facebook message connecting people from Oxford, Haringey, Warwickshire, Tameside, Norfolk, UK Youth Parliament and the British Youth Council – all struggling to save Youth Services. More news soon.
Demonstration against closure of youth clubs, in Witney December 10th 2010.
Report from Beth, Nicky, Pippa, Daniel and Sean from Save All UK Youth Centres group:
We set up the facebook group when the cuts were first announced. Then we got talking about how the cuts would affect us. We came up with the idea of a protest outside David Cameron’s office in Witney when he was due to have his regular MP’s surgery. We wrote a chant , “We want what’s fair, we want youth clubs everywhere”. We wanted it to be non-violent and didn’t expect it to be a very big event – just young people from the local area. We just wanted a chance to tell David Cameron what we thought of the cuts.
Mid week, before the protest and after the police had visited Nicky at school, there were rumours and worries that there might be some people coming along to cause trouble so we cancelled the protest. The police had said that they would hold Nicky responsible if it got out of hand and we didn’t want him ending up in trouble. We put it back on when the Oxfordshire Anti Cuts Alliance said they would support us.
On the night there were young people from 3 West Oxfordshire youth clubs as well as people from the anti cuts alliance. Some local students also joined us when they saw us protesting. We chanted and held up placards.
The response from local people was really good. Loads of people tooted their car horns in support and other people talked to us and said they agreed with us about not wanting the youth clubs closed. We really enjoyed ourselves. It was fun as well as being a serious protest. It’s a shame Cameron didn’t turn up to hear us.
We got a lot of media coverage. BBC TV News at Ten (Oxford), BBC radio 4 and BBC Oxford radio, The Guardian, the Sunday Mirror, Witney Gazette and Oxford Mail all covered the story, particularly Nicky’s visit from the police. We’ve also had massive support through facebook .
Now we’re planning further action for the next few weeks and we’d like to hear from any other youth clubs or projects threatened with closure, to maybe co-ordinate our activities with other young people too.
We can be contacted via the facebook group ‘Save all UK youth centres.’
Meanwhile the Save Haringey Youth Centres Group inform us: