Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/686/12824
Save Devon youth service: "time for young people to stand up"
An interview with Christi Kelly, organiser of 'Help Save Devon Youth Service'
How did you get involved in Devon youth service and what did you do?
I started going down to The Real McCaf [a drop-in cafe run by Devon Youth Service] as a young person with friends and gradually took part in helping with different activities such as being an outdoor education instructor for some young people out on Exmoor.
As well as helping run the planning sessions - healthy eating, sexual health and more - I also help with running a dance project.
How was Devon youth service threatened by the cuts?
There have been a lot of issues and difficulties because of the cuts. For example, my area youth worker's job was at risk. Fortunately she still has her job but has taken over Braunton as well which means that she will now be spending less time in Ilfracombe which could affect the way our service is run.
How did you go about organising opposition to these cuts?
I set up a committee of young people to decide what we could do. They were all amazing and enthusiastic about getting involved.
After coming back from a Birmingham rally organised by 'Choose Youth', an alliance of trade unions and youth organisations, we decided on doing a peaceful march through Ilfracombe.
Everyone worked extremely hard to advertise our march by going into youth clubs across North Devon and telling them about our ideas. We also made leaflets that we put through letter boxes in Ilfracombe and made posters.
Each young person had a role and I really think that helped them to believe that they were making a difference.
How important do you think it is to link up with other campaigns against cuts?
I think the only way forward is for everyone to work together because the more people, the bigger the voice. Throughout Devon the loss of highly skilled and qualified workers has had a huge impact on the running of the service.
We are still fighting alongside North Devon Anti-Cuts Alliance - there is still time for young people to stand up and let the government know that they have needs and the youth service can deliver but without investment this is getting harder and harder.
We travelled down to London for the March for the Alternative TUC demonstration on 26 March and we're going to the Choose Youth Rally in London on 25 October.
In The Socialist 21 September 2011:
Building for 30 November strike
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
Socialist Party news and analysis
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Socialist Party youth and students
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