Youth services are crucial to a functioning society, as found by the current government’s report which linked the August 2011 riots with the closure of youth clubs in north London. Youth clubs are about much more than young people playing games in their spare time. They provide a secure environment to learn the right skills needed for adult life. Without this many young people are left never reaching anywhere near their full potential which is a great loss to themselves and society as a whole.
Youth workers often become the only adult that a young person has in their lives that they trust. Cuts to services are threatening the whole profession of youth work and the relationships and experience that has been built with it. The loss of such a crucial profession will have a huge detrimental effect upon the lives of young people as extra-curricular youth activities has been linked to increased grades and greater democratic engagement.
Youth work also not only prevents anti-social behaviour but is a much more economical alternative then the legal system. For example according to the audit commission, it costs the taxpayer over £200,000 for every young person in the criminal justice system by the age of 16 but a young person who is given support to stay out only costs £50000. So every pound we ‘save’ on the youth service is another pound, or more, spent elsewhere.
We can’t let all the great benefits of youth work be destroyed for nothing but short term gain. Help us fight for a statutory youth service by signing our petition here.