In the past few weeks I’ve been trying to get my head around the contrasting pictures of youth work painted nowadays, one apparently vibrant, the other full of woe. I’ll post some thoughts about these parallel universes this week.
In the meantime James Ballantyne, blogger extraordinaire, is ahead of me, as is often the case. His latest rumination begins:
On the morning of Fidel Castro’s death, a possible recount of the votes in one American state and a huge swell of media attention to historic sex offences in football ( top three stories right now on BBC news website), there wont be many column inches spared to the pending closure of the Universal youth provision in Brighton which was announced in the last two days. It is part of a 1.3m savings process for the local council, in which ‘vulnerable young people may be put at risk’ the details are here: and by some accounts was announced to the media as consultations were being organised.
It feels a strange week then, given that ‘Youth worker of the year awards’ were publicised by ‘CYP Now’ this week, and the Christian Youth worker awards were held only 2 weeks ago. Is there much to be celebrated? – well of course given the huge demands on the profession, the people fighting for it and the work that is done to help young people, people delivering youth work should be heralded more than ever. But it remains a critical time and I didn’t hear much from the platforms of people giving prophetic, challenging messages about the state of the profession. You know, a bit like the actresses at the Oscars who know they are making a scene when they challenge gender pay inequality, or when race inequality is also challenged.
Where was the politically charged speech? if there was one it wasn’t shared very widely. Maybe the occasion too managed, the funding too precious, sponsorship too seductive, that at gatherings of youth work professionals calls to challenge the pending desolation of the founding identity of practice – the youth club is on its way out. I wonder if there is too much protectionism of the brands and organisations that people represent to challenge the powers and structure that are undermining youth work and in effect young people as people at all.
Read in full at Something socially good is lost when youth clubs are closing.
And as for the continuing cuts:
For further information on the Brighton situation, see Charities may close as Brighton and Hove council prepares to scrap £1.3m youth services contract
In Somerset see the campaign Save Somerset LGBT+ Youth Support Group 2BU
LIVELY PROTEST AGAINST YOUTH CLUB CLOSURES in Coventry
UNISON CYMRU reports that Youth centre closures in Wales reach 100 since 2012