Save Kirklees Youth Service : The eloquent voice of young people

Young people from Kirklees are fighting to save their youth clubs and open access youth work. Please visit their Facebook page and sign their petition at



And, as Patch Allen says, if you don’t do anything else today, catch this eloquent and moving speech by Jenny Goldman in the Kirkleees Council Chambers. Go to 21:30 on the Council webcast.

And another slide and story from the Youth forum.




Newcastle Unbowed : Sending out an SOS!


David Manasse of the Newcastle Free Press reports:

Around two thousand people gathered in Newcastle on Saturday to oppose government austerity measures and council cuts, in one of the largest street demonstrations in Newcastle since the student demonstrations of 2010. The march was called by a wide coalition of local activist groups from across the progressive spectrum. They united a variety of causes, ranging from local groups calling for the protection of Newcastle’s libraries, youth projects, swimming pools and arts centres, to wider campaigns around defending the NHS, social welfare and disability rights.

Earlier in the day a feeder march left from Murray House Youth Centre on Diane Street in Arthur’s Hill. The feeder march was of around fifty people strong, mostly consisting of under-12s and their youth workers from around Newcastle’s West End. The impassioned chanting of this group, accompanied by the drumming and whistles of local percussion players, created a wonderful atmosphere, prompting one activist to declare it “the cutest march I’ve ever seen”.

Their demands included the continuation of their youth projects, such as the New Mill ‘Night Reach’ project, which are due to lose 100% of their funding through the council cuts, as well as to save West End services such as Murray House and Mooreside Library. Another feeder march, called by Newcastle Free Education Network against the coalition’s Education Reforms, left from Northumbria University.

The feeders joined the main group at the assembly point at Newcastle’s Times Square.

Carry on reading at Sending-out-an-SOS


Coalition of Resistance video – a bit giddy,but uplifting!

Further coverage in the local Chronicle at Residents March in Protest

Word from Anne Marron on the ground.

The next SOS organising meeting will be held this Thursday (21st) evening at 7pm in St John’s church hall, Grainger street. The meeting is open to anyone interested in helping us fight the cuts to services. It was an inspiring march last Saturday, and should give us hope that it is possible to fight and to win, but there is still a long road ahead and we need to remain well organised if we are to challenge the unfair cuts to services being pushed through by the Labour council. In particular, the play and youth services are still proposed to be cut entirely, as are several swimming pools and community libraries. Save Our Services would welcome your input and help with the campaign. It doesn’t matter whether you have any experience in campaigning, we all need to learn as we go along. No cuts for kids! No cuts at all!

Elswick swimming pool is a much-loved community resource, used by all sections of the local community, including primary schools, women only sessions and Sure-start groups. The swimming pool and park were recently refurbished to make them more accessible to the community but now the council is proposing to sell-off the pool or close it altogether.

Save Our Services is holding a SWIM-IN this Saturday 23rd February from 1-3pm which aims to draw attention to the potential loss of the pool and launch a campaign to prevent its closure. We need your support, please try and get along (support is needed both in the water and outside).

There will be a planning meeting to organise the event this Thursday 21st Feb at 9.30am (early I know) at Elswick swimming pool in a meeting room upstairs next to the Impulse Fitness Gym. We will be discussing the press release and creative ideas for the day.

Please feel free to bring your kids along, or if you are a young person, you are welcome to get involved.

Looking further ahead Stop the Cuts, Save Our Services, the coalition who planned Saturday’s march, will be holding a public meeting entitled “What next?” between 1 and 5pm on Saturday the 2nd of March at St. John’s Church Hall on Grainger Street, Newcastle, in order to plan future events and actions.


We’re in the middle of pulling together into a coherent post a number of e-mail exchanges around the issue of the relationship of youth workers with young people and their relationship to the growing protests. In the meantime hats off to the Woodcraft Folk for the uncompromising support offered to their members,Woodcraft Folk Will Stand By You.

Young People of Woodcraft,

Many of you have been contacting us about walking out and taking part in protests against cuts to your education and increasing fees for university. Today the elected group of leaders and young members who help lead Woodcraft announced that Woodcraft Folk will enthusiastically support action taken by young people to protest against government cuts to education. This includes walkouts and non-violent direct action on the 24th November (this Wednesday)

You, and young people in Woodcraft before you have a long history of taking a stand on issues that affect you, your communities and your future. Your Elfin, Pioneer and Venturer groups have met with local councillors and MPs to discuss important issues. Your DF movement runs campaigns and stage non-violent actions, making front page news and contributing to national struggles for a better world. Young people from your districts have even been to parliament  and appeared on national television and radio to explain their message.

Many young people protested against the Iraq war and Woodcraft Folk was proud to support them as they marched in London, walked out of school and held their own demonstrations. Young people who take bold action sometimes get into trouble, but Woodcraft Folk will always defend your right to express your opinion act on your convictions.

Tonight we will write on behalf of the movement to the national newspapers, to make clear that Woodcraft Folk will stand behind you in taking action to influence the society we live in. Many critics will say that Woodcraft Folk should not support you and young people like you in having your say and that we should condemn “radical” action like school walkouts. We think differently. We believe it is your choice and in empowering young people to make your own decisions in life. We will never condemn important means of protest like walkouts if they have come from young people.

This decision to stand by you is especially important now as on Wednesday the 24th of November at 11am students, school children, education campaigns, teachers, graduates and parents will take action together across the country to say education is vital and the education cuts are wrong.

We encourage all members to talk about these issues in your groups and districts and what ever actions you choose to get involved in we will stand beside you.

Blue Skies

General Council of Woodcraft Folk

There are some excellent reports from Woodies about their activities across the country on the 24th, fighting to save our education. The above photo is of a canal side protest in Hebden Bridge