In recent weeks we’ve linked to a range of responses to the government’s assault on young people’s lives and futures, Young People on the receiving end yet again of political and economic dogma, Young people are not fair game, Mr Osborne and The War on Youth. Indeed Ben Chu argues in this week’s Independent, Britain is no country for the young – in jobs, income or housing, that “until young people start mobilising to force their desperate circumstances on to the political agenda – they can expect more of the same.” Do we smell social and political action in the air?
Lo and behold the Cabinet Office announces that £1.26 million pounds is to be made available for social action. Momentarily we have visions of young people against austerity groups rushing to the fore. Then we come to our senses. This pretty paltry amount, seeing it is spread across the country and over two years, is open to applications from Charities, Community Interest Companies and Social Enterprises. And the funding comes as part of the government’s pledge to support the #iwill campaign, run by Step Up To Serve. As you might expect in practice the social action model used is rooted in ‘volunteering’ to do good to others, which is all well and good. However it is a very conservative notion of social action. To make things worse, it is used, given the government’s policies toward young people, in the most hypocritical way. Seeing I’m lost for words I’ll give the last cynical word to Rob Wilson, the youth minister.
“As part of the government’s commitment to building a truly compassionate society, this additional funding will tackle the challenges facing disadvantaged young people and help embed social action in young people’s lives.”
Further info re applying etc… at National Youth Social Action Fund: expressions of interest