Saturday, February 24, 2007

Why Simon Hughes is Right Again! Oh.......and Ming!!!

I was delighted to hear Simon Hughes on Week in Westminster this morning talking about tackling gun and gang culture. I can't tell you everything he said, because of the one thing he said about the importance of detached youth work. OK, so I am a bit of an evangelist for youth work, having spent most of my adult life in the youth service, including many years representing Youth Workers at a national level for Unison. But, for me, the reality is, that good youth work works. Whatever Mr Cameron wants, not all families will stay together and for some, with violent fathers, it is better that they don't. The important thing is that young people continue to have good role models and trusted adults they can relate to.

Last week I heard from a colleague who works for youth charity Fairbridge, that Billy Cox, the young man shot dead last week, had been working with Fairbridge to try and turn his life around. On Friday I went to Elephant and Castle to pick up the Trident T shirts I had ordered from the market stall Fairbridge had been running as part of their "Learn to Earn" programme. I was impressed by the young people running the stall and the youth worker working with them. As the pic shows, these are the people who have to be engaged if we are going to change anything. And youth work is proven to be one of the most successful ways to engage them. It is no good having high powered ministerial or "community leader" level meetings without recognising that those who have the real power and influence on the streets are the very young people our society often marginalises and demonises.

So, delighted to see that Ming has also picked up this issue. Let's put our money where our mouths are now and make a commitment to properly fund this Cinderella service. The benefits will not only be for our young people, but for our society as a whole.

No comments: