If you live in the UK then you can’t have escaped the fact that many public services are either being axed or under threat of severe funding cuts. Sadly in the youth sector nearly every single service is facing hugely disproportionate cuts, with many services simply shutting down (mainly because they are not seen as a priority against things like health care and formal education).
Choose Youth is a campaign organised by the workers union Unite, to demonstrate against these damaging cuts. From the website
Britainâ€™s youth service is world class. Itâ€™s far too good to lose. But nearly every project working with 13-18 year olds is at risk. Itâ€™s not too late to tell the decision makers that theyâ€™ve got their priorities wrong. Send them a clear message: a message that Youth Services Change Lives.
A national rally will be taking place in on 12 February in the Midlands. The event will show why these cuts are deeply damaging and unnecessary. Celebrities, entertainers and most importantly young people and their youth workersâ€™ and organisations will be there.
If you’re concerned about these cuts, personally affected, know others who are, or simply want to stand up for young people’s opportunities, please go and support this event. To book a place online, visit www.chooseyouth.org. (Please note that spaces are limited.)
In a related article for Children & Young People Now Doug Nicholls, national officer for Unite, writes about the history of the Youth Service in the UK:
Fifty years ago the Albemarle Committeeâ€™s recommendations on the youth service started to be implemented in England, leading to the introduction of the modern service. It was the first in the world and became an international model that is still emulated by many countries today.
The basis of the youth service was that society recognised that young people needed places of free association and fun to call their own. A youth-centre building programme began. It was recognised that trusted adults working in an entirely voluntary relationship with young people required professional training and nationally bargained terms and conditions. The Joint Negotiating Committee was born and professional youth work qualifications were introduced.
Albemarle went on to recognise that public funding was required for this service. It could no longer be left to faith, hope and charity. At a time of much higher national debt than we have now a programme of investment began. The essence of this investment was support for a partnership between local authorities and voluntary-sector providers to work together in the interests of young people and for services to the young to be democratically accountable.
Above all, it was recognised that the voluntary relationship with young people and youth workers was educational. Personal and social education was the objective. Young people would benefit from youth work on their own terms for the purpose of enjoyment and, ultimately, ethical growth and communal learning.
You can read the rest of the article here.