Services for young people - Education Committee Contents

Written evidence submitted by Linzi Neil

1.  The Youth Service is and should be available to all young people, regardless of gender, ethnicity, religious views etc. It is a universal service to enable all young people to meet their goals, feel free from oppression and is not targeted. Participation is a major struggle for some young people, yet features highly in the work that the youth service carry out with them.

2.  The youth service has an outstanding and effective programme for working with volunteers. Voluntary work encourages volunteers from all backgrounds, working with them to address issues and concerns raised and to help them to become involved in positive choices in their lives. Volunteers often praise the youth worker that they have been in contact with for the positive input, support and guidance, highlighting the fact that their personal outcomes may have been very different without this support. This surely is where the embrace of citizenship for some begins.

3.  National Youth Agency published documentations Act by Right and Hear by Right, which many youth service provisions use. These documents enable and encourage young people to enjoy and participate in Service delivery as well as the organisation of programmes being offered and delivered.

4.  Youth Workers strive to ensure that the programmes they deliver are of excellent quality, with this, the majority of them study for their JNC professional qualification in Youth work. The JNC qualification is recognised nationally and the training that candidates receive ensures that youth workers are continuously updated with new policy and procedures.

5.  Youth Forums are being established nationally, giving young people a voice with support from workers to make significant changes in their own communities. The effectiveness of these forums is outstanding for the young people, achieving accredited outcomes for the work that they are involved in. There is more than sufficient evidence for this type of work to remain prevalent and be delivered and supported by the youth service.

6.  The youth service is a unique organisation as it remains at the forefront of encouraging participation, development of positive relationships, encouraging young people to be assertive and is a main factor of informal education, which many young people NEED access to. Some young people move location on a regular basis, it remains the one service that these vulnerable groups of young people have in common and should be able to access in all areas.

7.  Public spending sector cuts will have a derogatory effect on the youth service, with many local authorities already being casualties of this. Is it not a statutory right for Local governments to provide provision for young people?

8.  The effectiveness of the youth service can be assessed on so many levels, the positive changes in young people when associated with youth workers and groups, the encouragement of empowerment, equality, informal education, becoming positive role models and the principles and values held by the youth service. The building of positive relationships is of a nature that, without all of the above may be hard to access. It is an anti-discriminatory and anti-oppressive service, where no coercive methods are evident throughout. Without question, young people want this service, and will fight for their right for it to remain.

December 2010

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Prepared 23 June 2011