‘Youth services are a right for every young person – the government must recognise this’

 

 

Seema Chandwani

Seema Chandwani, the project manager for Positive Youth News Haringey on why we can’t rely on councils to safeguard funding for youth services in an era of budget cuts – the government must act.

Read Seema’s blog in full at COMMENT

To give you a flavour:

It is clear Haringey Council made the right decision to keep funding directly-delivered youth services and approve a three-year youth strategy in September 2013 to carry us through to 2017.

But it is a pitiful shame that some other boroughs across the UK are closing youth services and do not have the insight nor political nous to recognise that savings are made not by cuts, but by investment in prevention that reduces the cost of cure and enables social mobility. There is no better service that has practised such an ethos than the youth service, which has done so for decades.

Sadly we cannot merely rely on decisions by politicians in town halls to have this foresight and intelligence, especially as many have never visited a youth centre nor care enough to do so.

So youth workers across the UK have to campaign for an additional layer of protection. This month the National Union of Students alongside Unite, the National Youth Agency and many others have launched their campaign to make local authority youth services a statutory service, with ring-fenced government funding to ensure they are delivered by councils like they are in Haringey.

We might be lucky in Haringey to have politicians clever enough to have passed a youth service strategy until 2017, valuing young people enough to ensure it is funded.

But stronger protections need to come from government to enable young people in any part of the country to have a right to these services, not for it to be left to chance.

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