A mix of info and links,  many of which will be developed in the coming days and weeks:

Donate to 38 degrees and piss off George! Dickens would be proud!

The In Defence of Youth Work Campaign is supporting the Choose Youth Rally on Saturday 12th February at a West Midlands venue from 11.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m.  Clearly we hope all our supporters will spread the word and get involved in building the rally. The Planning Group argues that the Parliamentary debate and Early Day Motion have created a momentum for the campaign to protect youth services and this event should be a rallying point for a broad coalition of organisations involving young people, youth work professionals, teachers and volunteers and its positive agenda to Choose Youth.  The rally will also provide a platform to explain the role and value of youth services and how important they are to young people and their communities.

They hope the rally will motivate young people to take ownership of the services they use – asking questions about the future of their services and contacting their councillors and MPs; will create a groundswell of support for youth work, which will feed into the agenda of the TUC national rally in defence of public services; and will promote the specific activities of  the impressive number of organisations sponsoring the rally.

Organisations working as partners on this rally so far.

National Pensioners Convention.

British Youth Council

National Council of Voluntary Youth Services.



National Association fo Voluntary and Community Action.

Children and Young People Now.

For Youth’s Sake Campaign.

Musicians’ Union .

Professional Footballers Association.

Federation of Detached Youth Workers.

UK Youth Parliament.

In Defence of Youth Work Campaign.

National Youth Agency

British Deaf Association.

The Woodcraft Folk.

The next planning meeting will be held on Thursday, January 20 in the Holborn UNITE office, London. A website at Choose Youth will be alive from January 6. Go there for the latest information about how the rally is being organised.

* Meanwhile locally the struggle continues.

– The Witney group’s efforts received further publicity with the Independent’s coverage of the police harassment of Nicky Wishart. Their Save All UK Youth Centres Facebook has now 1,477 members! Many of them are joining the Rally on Sunday, January 9 in Cameron’s backyard opposing the privatisation of Royal Mail.

– The young folk at Save Haringey Youth Centres are still pressing, have  meetings lined up with their MP’s, are mounting a protest on Monday, January 17, 2011 at 6:30p.m. outside Civic Centre, 247 Wood Green High Road. N22 and are supported by 1289 friends.

– Young people in Tameside have a Facebook, Save Tameside Youth Service and a Blog, SOS TAMESIDE, which Stephanie Jayne Blackwell is coordinating. A lobby of Council is being planned.

– See also news of young people’s protest against cuts in Rotherham

Returning to Tameside the first joint Union Press Release sets the scene, a move from there being a distinct open, pluralist Youth Service to the incorporation of a vastly reduced number of workers, now better seen as youth social workers, into Early Intervention Youth and Family teams.


Tameside Council Axes Youth Service in latest round of Cuts

As government cuts slash deeper into the borough, youth workers in Tameside were left reeling on Friday as senior council officials revealed proposals to axe the youth service. Around 110 mostly part-time youth workers were called to a meeting, as plans were unveiled to merge a number of services into integrated “youth and family teams” – putting around 150 staff at risk.

Whilst managers insisted that some youth work would remain, it was not made clear how this work would be carried out .It seems certain that community frontline services such as youth clubs and street work will be in the firing line, in favour of a move to targeted case work interventions with far fewer staff.

UNISON Branch Secretary Anne Keighley said, “Tameside Youth Service has a proud history. For over 35 years the service has been valued by the council and its elected members for its work with young people and our communities.”

A move to purely targeted work with too few staff, will undermine the longstanding relationships that youth workers have with young people. Youth work shapes the lives of youngsters in ways that can’t always be measured, – the thought of losing the service is heartbreaking”

Jose Johnson, Branch Secretary for UNITE added, “The proposals don’t make clear how frontline services will be affected. What we do know is that fewer staff will mean less provision. At this stage, there is no evidence that young people have been consulted, and local communities are not being given the chance to have their voices heard. The unions urge young people, parents and partner agencies to contact their local councillors to ask them how they will be affected, and tell them how they feel.”

on the international front the closure of the Sharek Youth Forum – see Youth work is forbidden in Gaza – has precipitated an eloquent and anguished outburst from a group of Gazan young people. Their manifesto in full can be found on the Critically Chatting site.  They are constructing a Blog, Gaza Youth Breaks Out.

* The Steering Group of the Campaign made a submission to the Select Committee Parliamentary Inquiry. According to the bureaucratic rules once put forward our submission  becomes the property of the Committee and cannot be reproduced without their permission. In this context we are posting a draft version of our submission on the Background Reading page so that our supporters, readers and critics can gain some sense of what we have said!

* Conferences and debate :

– On the positive side we are really chuffed to be collaborating with the Social Work Action Network [SWAN] in the organisation of their Sixth Annual Conference to be held in the University of Birmingham and we are hoping fervently that as many of our supporters as possible will take up this opportunity.

Please find attached the latest flyer for the Social Work Action Network’s next annual conference in Birmingham on 15th and 16th April 2011. This event will aim to reflect the growing movement against the ConDem coalition’s austerity measures which has been transformed in recent weeks by the student rebellion against fees and education cuts. The conference will have the key theme of building alliances in the struggle to defend social and youth work services and challenge cuts to the welfare state and benefits. The conference, organised in collaboration with In Defence of Youth Work, will bring together social workers, youth and community practitioners, service users, students and educators to share experiences of this struggle and help to build and broaden the movement against austerity.

The flyer contains information about the conference programme and speakers and how to book for the event (on-line booking is now available here). Speakers include Bob Williams-Findlay (Disabled People Against Cuts),Professor Sue White (critic of social work targets) and many others. Further details are available on the SWAN website:

We would also like to invite people to submit proposals for seminars and workshops at the conference which reflect their experiences of the campaigns and movement against austerity as well as other related topics. We have attached the call for workshops and seminars which includes details of how to submit your proposal. We are particularly keen to encourage presentations from those in practice, people who use services, carers and students.
Proposals by January 17 if at all possible.

– On the negative side we have to report that the March Youth and Policy History conference has been postponed because of the dramatic closure of the Ushaw College in Durham.  The organisers are pursuing an alternative venue for later in the year.
Enough shorts for now as several of the above will be given more space in the next few days.
Hoping you’re refreshed after the holidays there is much to do!!


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