Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/682/12559
The Socialist - reader's comment
Youth workers' warnings ignored across the country
Teresa Chalcroft, Detached youth worker (but not for much longer!) and chair Warwickshire Unite branch 61
Youth services have been targeted - not for cuts, but for closure. The policies of a few are wrecking our communities.
One of the public services substantially built by young people in their own interests, the youth service, could be the first public service to disappear completely.
Already a number of councils have abandoned the youth service - including mine which is 'ceasing' at the end of the month. London boroughs have been reckless in their neglect with £17 million proposed to go from 15 already threadbare London youth services in the second half of this year.
It is a vital service in working class communities where many other services have disappeared already or where services are about doing things to young people rather than with them.
Youth workers empower young people and this empowerment is the best foil to the sense of hopelessness and worthlessness that mass unemployment and poverty breed.
In our union response to our employer's proposals we stated:
"the proposal to cease a service that is proven to work successfully alongside young people and communities at the coal face is an extremely naïve and short-sighted decision that could lead to increased crime, anti-social behaviour and societal breakdown.
"It will reduce the social cohesion and social capital workers have been trying so hard to develop within communities and centres."
Indeed Haringey council (which covers the Tottenham area), which is making 75% cuts to its youth service budget, was warned in its own assessment in April that the reduction "could produce adverse outcomes including an increase in anti-social behaviour."
So far the response to the recent riots from our union, Unite, has been limited with general secretary Len McCluskey issuing a press statement calling for a period of "calm and reconnection."
This response is wholly inadequate - Unite needs to demand that all youth service cuts are immediately reversed. The £7 billion bonuses paid to bankers earlier this year would fund youth services across the country for the next 22 years.
In The Socialist 17 August 2011:
The street eruptions and aftermath
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
Socialist Party youth and students
Socialist Party workplace news
Comments and reviews