Restructuring within the the Church of England’s Education Division is threatening the existence of the designated National Adviser posts for childrens and youth services. At this juncture as the assault upon open and pluralist youth work continues unabated, we cannot afford to lose yet another distinctive youth work voice. We are being asked to sign a petition urging a change of mind. Please consider whether you might do so
In recent weeks the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Archbishop of York have championed children and young people. Both have argued passionately that we should be do more as a society and as the Church to make a difference in their lives and to do all we can to enable them to enjoy life and thrive!
Right now, childrens and youth services are undergoing unprecedented cuts. Local Authorities are increasingly looking at who is going to deliver services locally as they cut back and reduce funding. The Church has the potential to make a significant contribution, not just regionally, but nationally in debate, in policy decisions of national instiutions and of the Government.
It is against this backdrop that a short sighted and ill advised re-structuring is being planned which would see the Church of England effectively lose BOTH its National Children’s Officer and its National Youth Officer – to be replaced by a “Going for Growth Advisor.” This must not happen because:
1. We will loose the distinctiveness of “Children” and “Youth” being in the title of national posts.
2. The specialisms of Children and Youth Work cannot be held by one individual under the broad title of “Going for Growth Advisor”.
3. Directly linking the proposed post with the delivery of a “strategy” document is short termism and dilutes the ability of this person to be an advocate for children and young people regardless of the Going for Growth agenda.
4. The proposals to spend money saved (by reducing two posts to one) on consultants and project based work are not thought through – ideas put forth are either for activities already carried out (e.g. data collection); work that does not need funding (i.e. help the Church of England Youth Council to be more involved in key decision making – this is about an act of “will” on the part of Archbishops Council, not one of finance); work that is already being done – with professional expertise in Diocese (e.g. running regional conferences for children and young people)
As I post this concern I trip over too the Archbishop of York’s confused and conservative musings on gay marriage and social structures.
I wonder about his position on youth work with LGBT young people. It would be interesting to hear from youth workers within the Church.