The 1 in 5 Myth: Are youth services value for money?


It is easy to look at the figure that only 1 in 5 young people (20%) use youth clubs and think something is wrong, but there’s a lot going on beneath a simple headline. Statutory youth services are only one part of an offer to young people, and that in fact the highest use of youth clubs in the E.U is Ireland where ‘26% of young people in Ireland participate in youth clubs or organizations.’ (NYCI, 2012) Yet the same report found youth service were excellent value for money. So what lies behind the 1 in 5 number?

Read more from Informally Youth


Standing up to be counted

I marched for the alternative

I marched with fellow trade unionists, young people, youth organisations, students and  anti-cuts activists who all united to form a 500,000 strong ‘March for the Alternative’ on the 26th March.

Together we hoped to send a clear message to the government that the demolition to the public sector, to youth services to the NHS and other services such as welfare, are not the way to tackle the deficit and are nothing other than a politically motivated choice.

My trade union Unite, like many others organised transport for its members from all over the country, and after an early start the day began on the Embankment where the unions, community organisations and other groups formed up to begin the march. The noise was totally deafening amongst the crowd with vuvuzelas, whistles and clappers, with those marching accompanied by drummers, brass bands, samba bands and of course the hundreds of thousands of voices singing and dancing as they moved slowly through the streets of London. The streets were filled with music, with song, with banners and placards…with people.  See video here.

The route wound its way through London and eventually arrived for a rally in Hyde Park where many listened eagerly to speakers including Ed Milliband, Labour Party Leader and Len McCluskey, our General Secretary. Ed spoke and drew comparisons with campaigns such as the suffragettes whilst Len spelt out clearly the alternatives to the demolition of public services caused by the spiffs and speculators, not the workers.

Much of the media attention after the march concentrated on the minority involved in damage to public and private property and somewhat failed to highlight the reality of an estimated 500,000 demonstrators who had collectively come together from all over the country to march for an alternative. Good coverage could however be found in the Sunday Mirror and Sunday Observer.

Meanwhile we wait for the government’s response. And while we wait, we plan for the next stage of the campaign.

Just call me WYSIWYG

Now I have never really thought of myself as a technophobe…until now!

I appear to have been given or somehow inherited another website to ‘administer’, an FB page to look after and another Twitter feed. This in addition to my work website, my work Twitter/s, my personal FB, my personal Twitter and my WordPress Blog.

Even Tweetdeck cannot give me all the answers I need as although I have my three Twitter feeds running I cannot run the feed for my FB page rather that my personal profile feed?

For a short while I was quite optimistic about the new website responsibility when I was told it was a WordPress site, great I thought, at least I have some experience of WordPress with my blogging. At least I will already know the basics….the basics yes, but this is a prime example of when you need to know a little bit more than just enough.

I remain undefeated…I will try and learn but let me share the following …

Any help gladly accepted…..


Cameron…we have a problem

This morning, David Cameron is having another go at trying to explain his Big Society. I would be lying if I said I had managed to listen to the whole thing, or even 25% – it was a few snippets here and there.

I also wonder just how this apparent ‘re-launch’ will help it take off or will he realize that it is actually “Cameron, we have a problem…”.

Over 1000 youth workers and young people came to Solihull to attend the Choose Youth Rally coordinated by the Unite union. We were all inspired by the voices of young people fighting back against the demolition of their services including Nicky Wishart, a 13 yr old boy who was ‘lifted’ out of his class by the police after they discovered that he was organising a campaign to save his local youth club…and why was this so troubling? Perhaps because it was in Cam’s home town in Witney.

Unfortunately, neither Cameron nor a representative from the Tory party was able to attend. He might have heard the passionate and extremely inspiring young people who were totally devastated about the services and resources that they enjoy disappearing across the country.

Cameron’s other baby is the National Citizens Service(NCS) and he uses this to argue the case for a greater involvement of young people in volunteering. He fails to admit that the cuts in voluntary organisations will dramatically reduce the amount of volunteering opportunities for young people.

The millions being spent on the NCS , for a five week programme during the summer holidays, would resource a 365 day youth service for a year. Cam is already bleating on about how this summer scheme is a massive success!  This is only being piloted this year with the tenders won by a number of organisations with CEO’s and trustees seemingly all a little close to Cameron’s fold…

And even though service for young people are being demolished across the length and breadth of the country…we don’t have to worry because Cam’s Big Society Bank will make sure everything is OK and the voluntary organisations will not go under even though all thier funding is being stripped away…Steve Bell sort of sums it up for me…