A Network of Regional Youth Work Units, in England, collaborating across regions to promote good youth work and young people’s voices.
This week Partnership for Young London welcomed affiliates of the Choose Youth campaign to the Guildhall, which was an opportunity to discuss its latest activity and make plans for the months ahead.
Choose Youth is a coalition of organisations, including the Regional Youth Work Units, NUS Connect, Unite, Unison and UK Youth, to name but a few, campaigning for statutory funding for youth services.
Whilst we tried not to be too downbeat regarding deficit reduction and government spending cuts “on a colossal scale”, it did bring home the realisation that we may need to take a different approach going forward.
The argument about retaining and providing good quality services for young people needs to be won, now more than ever.
It was interesting that this week the London Safeguarding Children Conference* focused on themes such as understanding and meeting the health needs of adolescents at risk; risk of self-harm and suicide in adolescence; integrating services to safeguard adolescents; a whole community approach to tackling child sexual exploitation; a whole community approach to tackling child sexual exploitation; and parenting in adolescence.
Safeguarding and Child Sexual Exploitation seems, and is quite rightly so, high or at the top of local councillor’s agendas. The need to ensure effective services are in place to support young people is vital.
Alongside service provision, the specific skills and expertise needed to safeguard adolescents also deserves recognition.
With the elections looming ever closer, Choose Youth has significantly upped the ante, with an early day motion 488 calling for the statutory funding of youth services. The motion now has 119 MP’s signatures and counting, with cross party support. There are plans to continue to lobby the shadow cabinet members and other parties, with the possibility of parliamentary questions and parliamentary petitions.
The sense of urgency and commitment has always been there but momentum now seems to be gathering at a faster pace. You may have already seen a flurry of activity today (Friday 12 December) with a Thunderclap.
It seems that when we up the stakes, people will – and do start to – take action. Here at Partnership for Young London we are convening a Youth Policy Alliance to influence and lobby policy and decision makers around the myriad of issues affecting young people in London.
Following the Choose Youth meeting, Partnership for Young London will now be focusing on gathering a cost benefit analysis of services for young people to add to the argument/business case; evidence of why it is so important we save and retain high quality services for young people.
If you can help please get in touch by emailing Lucy.Sandford@cityoflondon.gov.uk.
*All presentations from the conference can be found on the London Safeguarding Children Board website.
Lucy Sandford – Partnership for Young London