‘Youse don’t care about us, you’re only in it for the money’

Parkhead youth

More on the Scottish referendum and its impact on young people in the next day or two, but I tripped over the following blog,

‘Youse don’t care about us, you’re only in it for the money’: Insights from a Sociology undergraduate on the value of youth services in the East End of Glasgow.

on the [Re]Imagining Youth  research project site. Louise Bickerton, the blogger, begins,

Whilst working at a drop-in club for teenagers in the Govan district of Glasgow this week, I was struck by the words of one of the young men attending the service: ‘Youse don’t care about us, you’re only in it for the money. You don’t take us on any trips or anything’. After providing this club for many years, it is a blow to be told that you don’t care. Yet it is a reflection of the lack of value society at large places on the support and opportunities that youth clubs and youth workers provide. In the face of savage cuts to funding, youth work staff across the country have fought vigorously to keep services going; notwithstanding their best efforts, they have had to reduce their hours, facilities and services. It not surprising that young people are frustrated. The current administration does not view youth policy and provision as a priority for central government, but rather as a responsibility of local government. In an age of austerity local authorities have little or no money. Because youth services are not a statutory form of provision they are often the first thing to be cut when tough budgetary decisions need to be made.

Having interviewed a small group of young people in the area she concludes,

Disadvantaged young adults, especially those seeking work, are increasingly invisible when society shifts its focus onto consumer-orientated ‘community regeneration’. Tangible community development seemed to occur in the small projects from key staff who connected with and supported young people on a day-to-day basis. I found that young people were more integrated in support networks and could make use of work or leisure opportunities when they visited a local organisation or club. Furthermore access to the new sports facilities in the east end for those I met was better enabled by the club they were a part of, through organised trips. In the east end of Glasgow, the value of youth projects in risks being obscured by big corporations and the fanfare surrounding the Commonwealth Games. I sincerely hope that young people and their wider communities can see who is truly ‘in it for the money’.

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