Tag Archives: youth

We must make sure they weren’t just empty words

On Sunday I was delighted that Conference overwhelmingly passed the emergency motion on knife crime and youth work that I was so pleased to propose.

The excellent motion, drafted by our lead member on the LGA Children’s Board, Cllr Lucy Nethsinga, made clear the clear link between the dramatic cut in youth services across the country and the subsequent increase in knife crime.

In passing the motion, Conference reaffirmed the Party’s commitment to invest in both universal and targeted youth work. However, we need this affirmation to lead to more than just empty words, words that sound good in the conference hall but never appear in the manifesto.

Posted in Conference, News and Op-eds | 3 Comments

Christine Jardine MP writes…We are simply the temporary guardians of their future

‘No taxation without representation’ was the call to arms which shook Westminster to its very core, and drove the American Revolution.

And yet nearly 250 years later here we are again. In this country today 16 and 17 year olds can pay tax and national insurance, and yet they have no say, no representation in how that money they contribute to the public purse is spent.

They can also get married and join the armed forces, but they cannot vote and have no say in our society’s decisions on their future. Yet, nobody has provided a reasonable explanation as to why. There have been plenty of excuses but no explanations.

It frustrates me because I have witnessed first-hand what a difference it makes to our politics, and what a contrast there is when sixteen and seventeen year olds join the debate.

On the eve of the European elections in May 2014, I spent the evening with a group of my daughter’s friends.

It was her 16th birthday. They knew I was involved in both the European elections and the forthcoming Scottish Independence Referendum campaign and wanted to chat.

The conversations I had that night were some of the most enlightened, challenging and informed of the entire European or Independence referendum campaigns.

At one point, I noticed that even though there was a constant stream of questions a few of the people were also all on their phones.

I was on the brink of being disappointed, when I discovered that they were actually texting other friends who were sending back their own questions to ask.

Imagine that? Young people so desperately keen to understand and be involved in the democratic process.

All of them engaged, all of them informed, all of them keen to make a positive difference and yet none of them entitled to vote the next day.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 3 Comments

This week is Youth Work Week

This week is Youth Work Week. For most of my youth work career a pivotal point in the calendar, a chance to celebrate the difference good youth work can make to young peoples’ lives.

This year in some ways is no different, the theme is Fair Chances – how youth work helps young people to brighter futures and the National Youth Agency reminds us of the contribution youth work can make in education, out of school, social action and school to work transition. What is different is the barren landscape that is youth work across the country.

When I started as a youth worker in Luton we had 70 full time workers and hundreds of part time workers in Bedfordshire. Running the youth club in a town centre facility that was open all day and evening, we offered a safe haven and a place to blossom to hundreds of the town’s most vulnerable young people. Not only that, many of those young people were inspired enough to go on to become youth workers themselves.

Posted in News | 2 Comments

British Politics is in a constant battle with the youth and the Lib Dems should be on the frontline

 

As a party we have, despite recent results, a lot going for us. We have thousands of enthusiastic members, a huge amount of dedication and heaps of potential. Potential is the key word. The key values that the Liberal Democrats stand for are: liberalism, freedom and equality for all. These match very closely with what today’s young believe. So why in the last election did UKIP (10%) and the Greens (9%) perform better with the youth vote than the Lib Dems (8%)?

We are living in a liberal age. People have internationalist, democratic and progressive views. Yet the Lib Dems achieved only eight MPs in May. This is clear evidence that we have failed to spread the message of progressive liberalism to young voters. We need to accept as a party that we are no longer the campaigning powerhouse that we once were. The policies are there, the framework is there, the people are there but the clear concise message to young people is not.

Posted in Op-eds | 61 Comments

An inspiring talk for a Saturday morning – John Loughton on his journey from poverty in Edinburgh to talking to world leaders

John Loughton grew up in poverty in Edinburgh. He is a truly inspiring character. In this video he talks about his life and how he founded a youth leadership organisation that has worked with thousands of young people across the world.

John is a member of the Liberal Democrats and if you look at his Wikipedia page, you’ll see just some of the things he’s done and the powerful circles in which he has moved.

 

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 3 Comments

Opinion: National Citizen Service – value for money?

Throughout the summer holidays up to 13,000 16 to 17 year olds across England and Wales will be taking part in the second year pilot of the National Citizen Service.

This is the Coalition government’s flagship youth development programme described by David Cameron as: “A kind of non-military national service. It’s going to mix young people from different backgrounds……Above all its going to inspire a generation of young people … what they can achieve and how they can be part of the Big Society.”

The scheme is a three week programme in which young people spend the first two weeks living away …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 7 Comments
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