The Labour Party is today announcing “Only Young Once” – a bold vision for rebuilding youth services across the whole country.
Rising levels of knife crime and county lines, mental ill-health and loneliness, rising exclusions and exam pressure mean being a young person today is harder than ever.
The announcement comes as new analysis published by Labour reveals the alarming scale of cuts to youth services, showing that public spending on youth services in England has fallen by £1 billion since 2010, a reduction of 73%. Over 750 youth centres have closed their doors since 2012 and 14,500 youth and community work jobs have been lost since 2008.
Labour will end the postcode lottery for young people and introduce a new national ‘Youth Service Guarantee’, ensuring every young person has access to high quality youth work in their community regardless of their background and circumstances.
Labour’s youth services will provide all young people with extra-curricular activities to build aspiration, encourage engagement in arts and sport, enable active citizenship and provide a safe space to develop social groups. Labour will prioritise community-based non-formal education that harnesses young people’s skills and empowers them to improve their own lives.
By building trusted relationships at the local level through activities, qualified youth workers will signpost young people onto further services if needed. Youth workers will connect the divides between formal education, healthcare including mental healthcare, social services and family support, lifestyle guidance including addictions, crime prevention, housing, children’s care services, children’s rights, civil justice, democratic and civic participations and welfare benefits.
Labour’s plans to rebuild youth services include training, recruitment and gradually increasing number of skilled, qualified professional youth workers.
Launching ‘Only Young Once’ Jeremy Corbyn will say:
“The experiences of our youth can shape our entire future lives. Our young people should be supported in adolescence, a time that should be as full of wonder and as free from trouble as possible. With each young person we have just one chance to get it all right.
“The cuts to public services over the last decade have hit young people particularly hard. Life for young people in Britain today is far harder than it needs to be, and worse in many ways than it was for previous generations.
“We need local youth services across the whole country. We need services that can meet the complex challenges faced by young people today. We need services that will nurture and empower young people to improve their own lives.”