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  • Writer's pictureDavid Whewell

All-Party Parliamentary Group on Youth Affairs

The Final Report - April 2019

Here is the foreward of the report which can be accessed - here

Life as a young person today!

Several reports in recent years have drawn attention to the breakdown of the widely held assumption that children and young people should grow up to enjoy greater opportunities and a better quality of life than their parents and grandparents. Whilst it may still hold true for some families, for many young people this ‘contract’ has broken down due to long-standing structural shifts in the economy and housing market, coupled with cuts in public spending following the financial crash of 2008. A recent survey indicates that most people now believe young people today will not fare better than previous generations.1Many young people are embarking on their transition to adulthood from a lower material base level. There are also significant geographical differences in the opportunities available to young people.2 Other markers of disadvantage relating to gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity are not within the scope of this report; however, we include such inequalities where they were referred to in the submitted evidence. Many of the young people and others who contributed to our inquiry were positive that if young people are given the right support, they will be able to make the most of the opportunities available to them and to support their community and society. Lloyd Russel-Moyle, MP - Chair of the APPG for Youth Affairs.

The clear message came across in our research that youth work remains an important element of the support wanted and needed by young people today, and that by engaging with young people and working responsively in a way that other services may struggle to achieve, youth work can provide children and young people with the life skills, resilience and aspirations to overcome adversity. Youth services can respond not just to young people as individuals, but also to their communities. For example, the ‘Safer Lives Survey’ in the interim report of the Youth Violence Commission asked: ‘If there was one thing you could change that you think would make young people safer, what would it be?’ Over 2,200 young people responded, with the most popular response highlighting ‘the provision of more youth centres, sports clubs and other youth activities in their local areas’.3Overall, this inquiry presents an opportunity to shape youth policy and inform services that reflect the experiences and ambitions of young people. We explore the role, nature and sufficiency of youth work as an essential part of the community fabric that supports young people – their sense of identity, place and belonging, supported in the present and ambitious for their future. Fulfilling this role will require a shared understanding of, and clarity in, the role of youth work and contribution of youth services. We conclude that to be effective, youth work needs to be (and be seen to be) transformational, harnessing the skills of young people. Leigh Middleton - CEO of the NYA.

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