UK YOUTHVOICE write to a Prime Minister, who can’t and won’t deliver

 

Youth voice

UK Youth Voice outside 10 Downing Street. Ta to UK Youth for the photo.

 

On Wednesday, June 20 a deputation from UK Youth Voice delivered the group’s manifesto to 10 Downing Street. Addressed to the Prime Minister the detailed contents of the manifesto are to be applauded. Amongst the demands are:

  • Make youth services a priority public service
  • Enable every young person to take an active role in democracy
  • Provide accessible, high-quality education for all young people
  • End discrimination, prejudice and hate crime towards young people
  • Enable future generations to live in a clean, safe and sustainable
    environment

Contrary to a number of pre-election statements from leading youth sector organisations Youth Voice explores these headings in detail. For example the reader will find calls to protect the NHS; for votes at 16; for young people’s involvement in the EU negotiations and the replacement of the Erasmus+ funding stream; free education at all levels plus the cancellation of student debt; equality of pay and an end to zero-hour contracts;  the protection of environmental legislation; and much more.

READ IN FULL at Youth Voice Manifesto

The contradiction facing the young people of Youth Voice is that many of its demands cannot be delivered by a Tory Prime Minister and government, increasingly out of touch with significant sections of society. Indeed it seems that an overwhelming number of 18-25 year olds voted for the revival of social democracy as expressed in the Labour Party’s manifesto and against the failed free market model of neoliberalism. In this context we are very interested in what might be the next political steps for Youth Voice?  To what extent will it be hamstrung by the idea that Youth Voice should be in some contorted way neutral? Is this a moment when it’s necessary for Youth Voice to climb off the fence and pin its colours to an anti-austerity mast?

We look forward to hearing more about how Youth Voice chooses to use its progressive manifesto. For now we wish simply to congratulate Youth Voice on the work it’s put in. Good stuff. And this might just be the beginning.

 

Speaking Truth to Power- Rys Farthing on Young People and Poverty

The last few weeks have been tumultuous and tragic. In the next few days we will post some thoughts on the present situation, following our Manchester seminar on state-funded youth work and last Friday’s steering group meeting. In the meantime here is a timely and pertinent piece from Rys Farthing’s excellent new blog, entitled ‘A timely note on youth, poverty & powerlessness.’

truthpower

Noting the significant shift in the public mood – a growing recognition that politicians, amongst others, must be accountable – she calls on youth workers and young people to seize the moment, concluding:

So try to be a part of this zeitgeist. Has your youth group been ranting for ages about an issue you just didn’t think you could change? Do you know young people whose truths need to be told to those in power? Demand a meeting with your MP. Write to the national charity that works on this issue. Chalk bomb the council until they listen. Support your crew to go to every public event you can and organise for them to speak. Write to your local papers. Tell your funders why you need to do this. Now is the time for the young people you work with to be heard, and slowly but surely, maybe it’s now time for power to listen.

As always your reactions appreciated. I reckon it’s more than a good idea to follow Rys at Radical Youth Practice.

Education for Actions Week in the Durham Miners’ Hall : July 1-7

Thanks to Jean Spence for this link to a remarkable range of thought-provoking sessions during the EDUCATION  FOR ACTIONS Gala week in Durham. Given the unexpected shift in the political atmosphere the week might well be one of great optimism that the tide is turning away from private greed towards collective need. And, we do well to remember the explicit commitment of the Community and Youth Workers Union to the men and women of the mining communities during the Great Strike of 1984/85.

 

durham miners1

 

EDUCATION FOR ACTIONS GALA WEEK ACTIVITY PROGRAMME

All meetings, unless stated otherwise will take place in the Committee Room or Main Hall (the Pitman’s Parliament), Miners’ Hall, Red Hills, Durham City. All events and activities are open to everyone and are free. The building is accessible.

 

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The Pitman’s Parliament

SATURDAY 1ST JULY – REDHILLS OPEN DAY

10:00am – 3:00pm: RED HILLS OPEN DAY (No booking required)
Come share and celebrate with us our mining heritage, in this wonderful and unique building. A wonderful opportunity to explore the ‘Pitman’s Parliament’ and beautiful grounds. Guided tours by heritage experts: These will take place at: 10:30am; 12:00pm; and 1:30pm. There will also be an Exhibition of children’s work from Great Lumley Juniors’ School exploring their mining heritage.
Refreshments (Tea, coffee, biscuits, scones, etc.) will be available for a small donation.
For further information or to book a bespoke guided tour contact: education4action@durhamminers.co.uk.

MONDAY 3rd JULY – EDUCATION 4 ACTION

10:00am – 3:00pm: RED HILLS SCHOOLS VISIT
A day long education and arts workshop, working with a local secondary school exploring history, politics, music, trade unions, mining communities and heritage. For further information or if your school is interested in attending or arranging a visit please contact: education4action@durhamminers.co.uk

TUESDAY 4TH JULY – HERITAGE DAY

1:30pm – 3:00pm: THE WORKERS EDUCATION ASSOCIATION: HISTORY & HERITAGE BRANCH
A tour of the building will be followed by a presentation by Kath Connelly on the work of Education 4 Action, followed by a meeting to formalise the constitution of the WEA History & Heritage Branch.
(Committee Room)

3:00pm – 5:00pm: FILM SCREENING: ASUNDER
A film by Esther Johnson. Using archive and contemporary footage and audio, Asunder collages the stories of people from Tyneside and Wearside to uncover just what life was like on the home front, with bombs falling on Britain for the first time, conscientious objectors sentenced to death, and women working as doctors, tram conductors and footballer. The narrative moves from and Edwardian golden era, in which sport grew in popularity and aircraft and cars pointed to a bright new future, to a war that horrifically reversed this progress. In the battle of the Somme, British, French and German armies fought one of the most traumatic battles in military history. Over the course of just four months, more than one million soldiers were captured, wounded or killed in a confrontation of unimaginable horror. (Main Hall)

6:00pm – 7:00 pm. There will be a tour of the building followed by:
The NORTH EAST LABOUR HISTORY SOCIETY Presents:
MICHAEL CHAPLIN: SID CHAPLIN’S DURHAM: A VOYAGE AROUND MY FATHER’
Last year Michael edited a new collection of Sid’s poems, short stories and essays written in the 1940’s when he was a pitman at Dean and Chapter in Ferryhill. It was published in the autumn to mark his birth centenary. Born in County Durham Michael Chaplin is a theatre, radio, television and non-fiction writer and former television producer and executive. (Committee Room)

WEDNESDAY 5th JULY – EDUCATION 4 ACTION

 

10:00am – 3:00pm: RED HILLS SCHOOLS VISIT
A day long education and arts workshop, working with a local primary school exploring history, politics, music, trade unions, mining communities and heritage. For further information or if your school is interested in attending or arranging a visit please contact: education4action@durhamminers.co.uk

THURSDAY 6th JULY – STRIKES, PROTESTS & SOLIDARITY

Join us from 5pm, for evening of literature, music, talks, film and poetry

5:00pm – 6:00pm: BOOK LAUNCH – JUSTICE DENIED: FRIENDS, FOES AND THE MINERS’ STRIKE
This is a timely book written by former miners and radical academic researchers, the majority of whom were participants in the 1984-85 miners’ strike in Britain. It is particularly welcome today as calls intensify, despite the attempts by the establishment to silence them, for a public enquiry into the policing of picketing at Orgreave. Not only is it a marvellous account of the bravery of the men and women and their allies during one of the longest industrial strikes in British history, it is also testimony to the resilience of mining communities in the face of state repression. (Committee Room)

6:00pm – 7:00pm: PIT CAMPS
Flis Callow and Caroline Poland, who were active in Sheffield Women Against Pit Closures in 1984/85, and in the 1992/93 struggle to keep the pits open after Heseltine’s announcement to close 31 more pits, will present and share their experiences of the Houghton Main Pit Camp in 1993. They are currently gathering archive material and stories about Houghton Main Pit Camp in Yorkshire, as well as the other 6 pit camps set up in 1993. This is a little known story they hope to tell in a book written in conjunction with Gary Rivett and Sheffield University’s ‘History of Activism’ project. They will be interested to hear from anyone involved in any of the other pit camps. (Main Hall)

7:00 – 7.30pm: THE NORTH EAST SOCIALIST SINGERS
Hailing from all over the region, the community singers will perform a range of songs, drawing on our region’s rich mining heritage and socio-political history. Expect songs of protest, freedom and solidarity. You are most welcome to join in. (Main Hall)

7:30pm – 9.30pm: MINING THE MEMORIES
The ‘Mining the Memories’ project supported ex-miners and former colliery community members in South Yorkshire to write and produced a series of short films which tell their stories of the 1984/85 miners strikes and the continued legacy the decline in the coal mining industry is having on their communities. In total 5 original short dramas, 1 original animation and 2 documentaries. One documentary focuses on the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign and their continued fight for justice, the other focuses on Goldthorpe, South Yorkshire. (Main Hall)

FRIDAY 7th JULY – POVERTY IS POLITICAL

Join us from 2pm as we explore Red Hills. Followed by an evening of talks, film and lecture exploring issues surrounding one of the most prevalent problems in our society today; inequality. Food and refreshments will be available.

4:30pm – 5:30pm: HUNGER PAINS
Author Kayleigh Garthwaite volunteered with a Teesside food bank for two years, a time which inspired her acclaimed book ‘Hunger Pains’. Kayleigh shall share her work and research exploring food bank culture and poverty within austerity Britain. You are invited to share your thoughts and experiences.
Kayleigh spent two years volunteering in a foodbank in Stockton on Tees as part of a bigger project which looked at health inequalities brought about by the huge cuts in state spending through the Government’s austerity programme. Kayleigh provides a powerful insight into the realities of foodbanks. Trussell Trust data shows that 87,693 people including 35,246 children received three day emergency food from the Trussell Trust foodbanks in the North East of England 2014-2015. 13 million people live in poverty in Britain and over half of these are working families and in a town where a boy born in one of the poorest parts of Stockton can expect to live to just 67, a boy growing up just two miles down the road in Eaglescliffe or Hartburn would expect to live to 84. (Main Hall)

5:30pm – 6:30pm: THE DAVY HOPPER MEMORIAL LECTURE. SPEAKER: KEN LOACH
Education 4 Action presents ‘The Davey Hopper Memorial Lecture’ featuring Ken Loach, acclaimed film director and social commentator, director of ‘I Daniel Blake’, ‘Bread and Roses’, ‘Land and Freedom’ and many more. (Main Hall)

6:30pm – 7pm. THE FORGOTTEN WORKERS: LOW PAID WORK AND MULTIPLE EMPLOYMENT
Dr Jo McBride (Newcastle University) and Dr Andrew Smith (Bradford University) will talk about their concerns relating to low-paid work, wage inequalities, the rise of unstable jobs and in-work poverty. Whilst successive UK governments have attempted to reduce unemployment and make work pay, viewing employment as the best route out of poverty/low-pay, there has been a rise in what is termed ‘precarious work’. We have termed these people the ‘Forgotten Workers’ as they are largely absent from official statistics and policy debates. This is the first ever study in the UK to explicitly focus on low-paid workers in more than one job and to examine their work experiences and work-life challenges. We have discovered issues concerning underemployment, intensification of work, extensification of work, challenges and complexities of juggling work and home, issues with zero hours contracts and the well being of people struggling with more than one job. (Main Hall)

7:30pm: FILM SCREENING – THE SPIRIT OF 45
Ken Loach’s impassioned documentary, tells of how the spirit of unity buoyed Britain during the war years, and carried through to create a vision of a fairer, united society. This session will take place in the (Main Hall)

For more information about the Friends of the Durham Miners’ Gala, please visit our website: www.friendsofdurhamminersgala.org

Cor Blimey! A first chance to reflect on what the Mayhem might mean for youth work – Manchester June 14 and London, June 23

 

mayhem

Ta to the Liverpool Echo

 

Given the shockwave created by the General Election result, the possible implications will now feed into the discussion at our forthcoming seminars, which will be one of the first opportunities to take a breath about what’s happening. Bernard and Tania will attempt at short notice to take the present mayhem, chaos and promise into account in their opening contributions!

WHAT FUTURE FOR STATE-FUNDED YOUTH WORK?

Manchester seminar: Wednesday 14th June 1-4pm at M13 Youth Project

Brunswick Parish Church Centre, Brunswick St, Manchester, M13 9TQ

A short walk or bus ride from Manchester Piccadilly. See map and directions: http://www.brunswickchurch.org.uk/contact–location.html

London seminar: Friday 23rd June, 1-4pm at King’s College London

School of Education, Communication & Society, Rm 2/21, Waterloo Bridge Wing, Waterloo Road, SE1 9NH.

Five minutes from Waterloo station (but slightly confusing to find!) See map and directions: https://www.kcl.

In the light of the general election campaign and results, we are looking forward to meeting to discuss its possible implications for youth work – and in particular, on this occasion, for state-funded and state-organised youth work. The slightly tweaked programme is below. Please note that there is no lunch break. You are welcome to bring your lunch and eat during the session. Please arrive on time – or feel free to arrive early, anytime from 12:30 pm. Bookings are still open: please email Rachel@yasy.co.uk or indeed turn up on the day.

1- 1.10: Introduction to the proceedings.

1:10-1:30: Views from the field: Reflections from participants on the general election campaign and results. What does it mean for young people and for youth work?

1.30 – 2.30: Bernard Davies re-imagines how youth work might be supported and provided by the state – beyond the neoliberal mindset (15 min talk followed by discussion).

2.30 – 2.45 Break.

2.45 – 3.45: Tania de St Croix argues that the National Citizen Service is top-down, prescriptive, and pro-neoliberal, and should be replaced (15 min talk followed by discussion).

3.45 – 4.00: Feedback on the session and ideas for future seminars and action.

Hope to see you at either of these gatherings.

‘Labour will fund youth clubs properly’ – NME exclusive?

NME

Back in the era of punk the Wigan Youth Service subscribed to the New Musical Express [NME]. As the Service’s training officer I urged youth workers to scour or, at least skim, its pages. I argued that knowing something about the Clash or Siouxie and the Banshees opened up the chance to chat with young people about all manner of things. Whilst the NME is no longer the cultural force it was in those days, Jeremy Corbyn shares perhaps some of my nostalgia. Hence he has given the paper a major interview, which will appear in the June 2nd edition.

Of immediate interest is the following response to a NME reader’s question about young people appearing to support Labour.

 “I think they’re engaged because our manifesto offers them hope. It offers them hope that their schools will be properly funded, that their youth clubs will be properly funded, that they’ll get maintenance grants, they’ll get an opportunity to go to university without incurring massive debts at the end of it.” [my emphasis]

Evidently NME is often given away for free on the streets. If you can grab a copy, it would be good to see the interview in full.

Thanks to Ray Kinsey for this NME distribution map showing where you can pick up a copy and read the full interview.

NME MAP

And thanks to RajYouthworker the full interview online.

http://www.nme.com/features/jeremy-corbyn-interview-2017-cover-feature-labour-2082433

How did the left radicalism of my Manchester youth give way to Islamism?Kenin Malik ponders.

black star

Back in 2013 we drew your attention to the appearance of a fascinating book, ‘Black Star: Britain’s Asian Youth Movements’, written by Anandi Ramamurthy.  At the time Gus John wrote, ‘we can only hope that young people and their parents, of whatever ethnicity, demand this book is included in the school and college curriculum. It shows that even before the ‘war on terror’ and Islamophobia, South Asian communities needed to engage in a defensive war in the face of a neo-fascist and state terror that was relentlessly visited upon them.’  A later review by Matloub Husayn-Ali-Khan, who was personally involved, underlined the significant role of youth workers in the emergence of the Sheffield Asian Youth Movement, which was initially called the Asian Youth Council. It was born out of a meeting on October 12, 1980 between Bradford and Sheffield activists held at the Attercliffe Youth Centre in Sheffield. He recalls, ‘an atmosphere that brought out a feeling of togetherness, commitment, comradeship; oneness and unity between all those who felt the struggle.’

AYM Sheffield

With the Manchester tragedy very much to the fore in many people’s minds this historical context is revisited by Kenin Malik in ‘How did the left radicalism of my Manchester youth give way to Islamism?’ — After the atrocity, we recall a past when to be young and Muslim was to be engaged in class politics’

To take, but one aspect of his argument, he remembers his ‘real fury at a society that would not embrace [him] as an equal, legitimate citizen. But it was a very different kind of anger to that which many young Muslims feel now and the ways of expressing it were even more distinct. My fury towards Britain was not expressed through the prism of being “Muslim”. Partly this was because I was not religious. But partly, also, because few adopted “Muslim” as a public identity. We thought of ourselves as “Asian” or “black”, but these were political, not ethnic or cultural labels.’

He concludes,

Perhaps the question to ask is not: “Were I 20 today, would I be attracted to Islamism?” but, rather: “Had Salman Abedi or Mohammad Sidique Khan been born a generation earlier, would they have rejected Islamism?” It is impossible to answer, but in asking that question, we can begin to tease out some of the social reasons for the Abedis and the Khans of this world becoming as they are.

I am not suggesting that anyone apart from Salman Abedi (and his co-conspirators, if there are any) bears responsibility for the carnage at the Manchester Arena. The reflex response to anyone digging deeper into the motives of jihadis is to denounce them as “apologists”. Witness the Tory onslaught against Jeremy Corbyn for what was a largely innocuous speech on Friday. What I am saying, however, is that while individuals bear responsibility for their acts, they also act within particular social contexts. If we are serious about combating the scourge of homegrown jihadism, we need not just to denounce jihadis as evil, but also to look at how the shifting social landscape has given them space to act as they do – and at how we can remake that landscape.

How might youth work contribute to such a remaking? As a minimum aren’t we obliged to engage afresh with the politics of our work? Whose political agendas have we been embracing in the era of neoliberalism? Is there the possibility of turning at least some of this world upside down?

 

Youth employment in the ‘gig’ economy, isolation and youth loneliness research project

 

youthloneliness

Ta to youthawesome.com

 

Apologies I’ve only just found our about this project and the first workshop is on Wednesday, May 3 in Manchester. Looks an excellent initiative and co-facilitated by our friends at 42nd Street. A pertinent piece of research to be shared on May Day.

DESCRIPTION
As part of the @YouthLoneliness project, we are interested to find out more about young people’s working lives, their casual employment, their experience of self-employment and their involvement in the ‘gig’ economy.
Across 3 workshops we will explore, research and discuss the gig economy and youth loneliness. The workshops will be held at the People’s History Museum on May 3rd, May 17th and May 24th, between 1.00 pm to 3 pm.
Workshop One: Starting a documentary process. In this session we will learn about doing research using a smartphone. Then we plan and begin our research on young people in the ‘gig’ economy. This will involve interviewing young people in the ‘gig’ economy around Manchester.
Workshop Two: Exploring the data. This session will explore the data we’ve collected and ideas we have. We’ll use this material to produce a multi-media mixed art form (e.g. a collage or mosaic).
Workshop Three: Discussion. We will invite a panel of guest speakers to discuss the research and debate isolation, loneliness and young people in the ‘gig’ economy.
Priority booking will be given to people aged between 16 and 25 but the events are open to all. You do not have to work in the ‘gig’ economy to participate. You do not have to have previous experience of doing research.
The event is based at based at the People’s History Museum. We will be looking at archive material in the museum to inspire printmaking, documentary work and photography and ideas for today. We are looking to historical movements like the Co-op Movement and the Trades Union movement that brought people facing harsh conditions together in search of ways of improving lives. We are wondering what networks of connection can we imagine for today?

For more info/to book a place, go to Youth Loneliness Tickets