Almost exactly a year ago we were congratulating the Brighton ‘Protect Youth Services’ campaign on its creative and successful defence of youth provision in the town. In the aftermath the Pre-Qual group in a thoughtful and challenging blog concluded:
If this campaign to protect youth services has proved one thing, it is that when you organise around a demand which is achievable, have an argument which is strong enough and you pursue that argument with enough persistence and a great enough diversity of tactics, you can achieve concrete success. These were the key elements which won the youth service campaign; saving the service was realistically achievable, the arguments were solid and we simply did not leave the council alone, pursuing every possible avenue available to us, from getting out onto the streets to legally challenging the consultation process. By following this formula we believe that we can be successful in fighting off the cuts again next year, but we can’t do it on our own: we need your help.
It certainly looks as if this advice was taken on board. Indeed CYPN reports, Council to boost youth work spending by £90K :
Proposals set to be considered by members of Brighton and Hove Council next Thursday (22 February) will see the extra money handed to local youth work providers.
A “cross party youth group”, set up in Brighton last year to bring politicians and young people together, will decide how the additional funding should be spent.
“The £90k proposal will be discussed at the next cross party youth group, which includes representatives from the three political groups and from various youth groups across the city,” a council spokesman said.
“It is this group which will be recommending how this additional money should be prioritised.”
Adam Muirhead, chair of the Institute for Youth Work and local youth worker, who will be speaking at our IDYW national conference on March 9, has welcomed Brighton and Hove’s decision to buck the national trend of continuing cuts. Interestingly at least part of the reason for the exceptional nature of the decision might well lie in the fact that the town’s politics are volatile and contested – Labour, Greens and Tories vying for influence and power. None of them can afford to be smug and indifferent to the views of their public, including young people, so often ignored.
“Local politicians from across different parties in Brighton and Hove have really tried to listen to young people,” Adam suggests.
“They have then put their money where their mouth is by being supportive of young people, empowering them and protective of youth services.”
The £90,000 extra spend on youth work is part of a package of additional funding, worth £460,000, to improve support for young people in Brighton and Hove.
It’s good to begin a week with uplifting news. Sending our thanks and solidarity to the young people and youth workers of Brighton, who’ve continued the fight so capably.