The Tim Reaper : Stop the Vandalism!

CYWU [Community and youth workers in UNITE] has had enough of the posturings of Tim Loughton, the Minister responsible for youth services. In the editorial of a hard-hitting November edition of Rapport, Kevin Henman despairs.

He [ the said Minister] denies responsibility for the cuts; refuses to intervene where local authorities don’t have a youth service plan; belittles the cross party findings of the government’s own education select committee; perseveres with a wasteful National Citizenship Scheme while youth services are swept away, whose policies are condemned by the Archbishop and others. Positive for Youth? I doubt we’ve ever seen a minister so determinedly damaging and negative for youth and for young people’s sake – he should clearly go!

The reaper plays table tennis!

Elsewhere in a wide-ranging issue, which necessarily underlines the importance of the November 30 strike to defend decent public service pensions, a number of pieces speak directly to our Campaign’s concerns.

Tom Wylie, who acted as Special Advisor to the Education Select Committee, asks, ‘What Price Youth Work? and ponders the apparent capitulation of such as the NCVYS and NYA to the government’s imperative.

One has to ask why these national youth bodies are colluding with the marketisation of youth work. Why aren’t they mounting a vigorous defence of this vital public service for the young?

With the negative press after the riots Sara Parkin from Devon Branch tells of a group of young people rampaging through the streets of Ilfracombe and Braunton.

Living in this rural isolated corner, we offer them the ability to be heard and have a vision and be part of the wider
community. These are some of the reasons they have decided not to sit back and let this happen to them – in offering them time, support, a listening ear we have inadvertently educated young people to become politically active citizens on a mission – with more steps to come if I know them well enough! And yet the government want to take all of this away from them – I’m left wondering why.

The report on the Choose Youth Lobby includes quotes from a number of contributors, including our own Kalbir Shukra and some excellent photos.

Tuesday 25th October 2011 will be remembered for many years as the day young people took their grievances to the heart of Parliament. While the Government was, a few miles down the river at the O2 arena, launching its ‘Positive for Youth’ event with glossy fanfare and at great expense, thousands of young people and their supporters packed the Great Methodist Hall. They told their tales and stories with rare passion and determination, showing solidarity with each other and supporting each others’ demands.

Whilst Selma Wakeman from Oxfordshire in a telling and insightful piece suggests,

There is a new political and social awareness among some young people that doesn’t necessarily align with previous generations, doesn’t hold to institutionalised ways of thinking and are detached from any particular political party. They’re interested in their own politics, culture and beliefs, forming opinions that empower them and most are fully aware of their identity, their humanity and have a strong sense of injustice.

There is much more besides, including a welcome review of our book, ‘This is Youth Work’ by Kelly Hockley, which concludes,

On its own it is a good read for any youth worker, I found it affirming of certain ideas and values in my practice, a
reminder of the way in which I should strive to work. Reading these stories willprobably bring forth your own memories to the surface, but I don’t think nostalgia is the sole purpose of the project. Consider it a tool, to be shared, to stimulate discussion and to be used to assist you in educating others in the value and potential of your work, a defence of youth work.

From the point of a view of a Campaign, which burst into life as a response to New Labour’s attack on the tradition of open and pluralist youth work, it sticks in the craw to find within the pages of Rapport the posturing of Labour’s Shadow Minister, Stephen Twigg. All was well under Blair and Brown : Youth Work reduced to Positive Activities and Targeted Intervention! Coalition- bashing, richly deserved, let’s New Labour off the hook.

Whatever, make your own mind up. Visit  Rapport and click on November – much to chew over.

Thanks to Ade Marsh Photography for the image from the Lobby.

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