The interaction factor: A story of youth services in London

Avenues homework club
Thanks to Avenues Youth Project for the photo

We recommend this beautiful film by up-and-coming film-maker Orlando Del Maestro working in co-operation with young people from Avenues Youth Centre in London:


Orlando told us:

I made the film as I was fed up of seeing so much negative press surrounding young people today with neither the government or the media doing enough to address some of the real issues young people face day to day and doing more to portray them in a positive light. We need to celebrate young people, champion their interests and bring a lot more positive media full of hope!

I was particularly struck by how engaged young people are with the issue of our changing youth services and how much they value the day-to-day support they are getting at the Avenues. They understand they are getting little support outside their local area but that there are many people within their local community who are doing all they can to fight their corner and keep supporting them. You can tell because many young members have recently become youth workers themselves.

We love how youth-centred and thoughtful the film is (and the plastercine figures are pretty cool too).

The film includes an interview with Conservative ex-youth minister Tim Loughton repeating the mantra that youth services were to blame for their own demise: youth services were ‘an easy bit of low hanging fruit’ during the time of the cuts, and there were ‘too many complaints’ that ‘you had a local authority youth service which was largely run for the convenience of the local authority, rather than what kids wanted and would use…’ Apparently, it is unrealistic to have youth services in every neighbourhood, and they should instead be targeted only at ‘disengaged youths’, kids who are getting into trouble and joining gangs [yawn].

At a time when youth workers are constantly told we do not do enough to account for what we do, films like this can communicate the value of youth work without over-simplifying them. Well done Orlando and the young people of Avenues, especially the brilliant presenter Mia Glow Ratray. Recommended viewing in your youth projects, and might be worth sending to your local councillors and MPs as well.

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