In Defence of Youth Work/Developing and Defending Youth Work
Dear Colleagues, Students and Friends….please circulate far and wide and confirm your attendance,
As you will have seen in the local and national media Newcastle City Council have proposed cuts in council spending of £90 million over the next 3 years which, if agreed, will see a 1/3 reduction in the whole council budget. The implementation of these cuts will lead to the complete withdrawal of funding and closure of the Youth Service and Play Service in Newcastle, the closure of many public libraries and swimming pools in local neighbourhoods across the city and several services for individuals and families living with disabilities and learning disabilities. Also proposed is the withdrawal of 100% of funding for the arts (including the closure and selling of the City Hall). The cuts will lead to at least 1,300 public sector job losses. If implemented these cuts will have a devastating impact on children, young people and their communities throughout the city. These cuts are NOT inevitable, we can say No and give thorough consideration to alternative solutions.
As you will appreciate this is a very difficult time for our colleagues in the field and the young people and communities they serve in Newcastle. Many of these organisations and projects currently work in partnership with Durham University and have for many years supported our professional programmes by hosting, supervising and assessing our Community, Youth and Social Work students during their fieldwork practice placements, dissertations and Phd research, making vital contributions to Durham University research projects, the Centre for Social Justice and Community Action, Student Community Action, Community Engagement and many other partnership initiatives throughout the university. We need your support and solidarity and would really appreciate your contributions.
The closure of the Youth Service in Newcastle is the culmination of several years spent dismantling Youth Work and Youth Service provision to young people across the city. Most of the poorest neighbourhoods are not currently serviced by commissioned youth services, commissioned services have not identified the diverse and differing social, educational, economic and welfare needs of young people and therefore young people in these areas do not have access to appropriate service provision for a variety of reasons.
We want the council to be transparent in explaining and justifying the decisions they have made and account for the proposed withdrawal of public funding from these services. We want the council to listen to young people, to Youth Workers and to colleagues from other professions who have a history of working together in the city and take account of children and young people’s ideas and needs. We call for a full review of Youth Services for children and young people in Newcastle over the last 3 years, informed by related and current research, current socio/economic data, literature and evidence of the socio/economic needs of young people. It should include a review of the impact of the recent commissioning process on young people, Youth Work and Youth Services in the City and an Equality Impact Assessment of how these changes and the proposed cuts and closures are effecting our children and young people’s lives. There is great concern that the funding allocation from central government is significantly disproportionate to other local authorities in the UK and that this will also influence these disproportionate cuts to services plunging areas of the North East into the consequences of further poverty, vulnerability and disadvantage. We need to demand from Westminister and Newcastle City Council that a transparent and accountable process is undertaken which has the reality of young people’s lives, their ideas and needs central to proposals for Youth Work and Youth Services in Newcastle’s neighbourhoods as well as defending our need for adequate resources for employment, affordable education, training and leisure opportunities for young people in the North East.
A consultation period up to early February 2013 has started and we have an opportunity to influence the decision and voice concerns regarding the potentially devastating effects these cuts will have on our local communities in Newcastle now and ultimately across the North East. Join us for the ‘In Defence of Youth Work’ meeting and share your ideas for action, consultation, protest and lobby with local people. Bring your creativity, skills, knowledge, relevant and related research findings and evidence to help inform our arguments. Help to stop these devastating cuts and keep these public services accessible and available! The email below and attachments outline further details of events.
We look forward to seeing you 7pm on 6th December. If you are unable to attend then send your messages of support, ideas for actions, influential documents/literature/discussion papers and express your concerns to your local Councillors and MP’s.
In support of an effective, fair and valued Youth Service for children and young people in Newcastle.