Getting our voices heard in 2017YouthLeads resi group shot

Our members have told us that they want London Youth to create a platform for them
to share their insights and evidence, and contribute to better policy and practice development for young people. We want  to ensure that good youth work and the needs of young people are understood by those making decisions about priorities for policy and resources, so below is a summary of some of the things we’ve been doing in the first part of 2017.

A need to invest in youth work

There continues to be a backdrop of cuts to services for young people in London and across the country. Given the pressure on local authority budgets, it is unlikely that these will be reversed in the short term, but we have been advocating on behalf of our members to make the case for more investment from other sources. The Guardian has just published an opinion piece from London Youth arguing that policymakers can see the value of good youth work – so investment needs to follow, from new sources. At the same time, we know our members are working hard every day to find ways of sustaining themselves, and our Chief Executive Rosemary Watt-Wyness reflected on some of the innovation in our network in Children and Young People Now in February. We know how tough it is for youth organisations, and want to keep pressure on for investment.

Shaping London

We’ve also been active in ensuring our members and young people can help shape the London of the future. On March 20th we’ll launch a report: Young People’s Capital of the World? based on research we’ve done in partnership with UBS Bank and think-tank Centre for London. Informed by peer research among young people and youth workers, we’ve looked at what can be done to better support young Londoners in 5 East London boroughs. For more information about the launch and the report, see here.

In February, a number of London Youth members joined an event with over 100 organisations, local authorities and young people to make a case to Matthew Ryder, London’s Deputy Mayor for Social Integration and Community Engagement, for a bold Vision for Young Londoners. The Deputy Mayor was very open to our narrative, and we will continue the dialogue.

And we’ve offered members the chance to feed directly into the consultation from the City Bridge Trust, one of London’s biggest funders of youth work, through a series of events.  Over 20 London Youth members attended our event before Christmas, and City Bridge Trust would love to hear more views from community organisations, so please do continue to contribute.

Youth crime and policing in London

Over the past two months many of our members have helped shape a detailed response to the Mayor’s Office for Police and Crime (MOPAC) consultation on crime and policing in London. During the consultation period we attended two round table meetings with Deputy Mayor, Sophie Linden; hosted a range of focus groups with our members; solicited your views through an online survey; and encouraged youth organisations to respond directly. Our response to the consultation is here; and we are hopeful that these views will help shape a safer London for young people in communities. MOPAC expect to publish their strategy at the end of March.

A number of our members were also invited to attend a seminar on youth crime at the Home Office at the beginning of March, giving them the chance to engage direct with policymakers and academics on national crime policy.

Shaping employment policy for young people

Our Lottery-funded employability programme Damian Hinds and young people from Talent Match LondonTalent Match London reached its three year milestone this spring, and the success we and our members and partners have achieved in engaging young people facing the biggest barriers to employment was recognised via a visit by Employment Minister Damian Hinds MP to youth arts organisation Collage Arts in North London on 7th March. The Minister met young people who’d been supported by Talent Match London and offered encouragement that the learning from this programme would help shape future policy. The Big Lottery Fund, Movement to Work and the Employment Related Services Association (ERSA) who represent employability providers, were also present at the visit, and welcomed the chance to understand more about the work being done throughout London Youth’s network and the Talent Match London partnership.

Health and sport

Football at Cedars Community Centre15 London Youth members joined a consultation discussion with Public Health England in February looking at how youth workers could be better supported to address young people’s mental health needs. Public Health England will be publishing their new strategy later this year, and welcomed the input from our members. We’re also currently contributing evidence to an enquiry from Sport England and Sported Bridging the Gap consultation into what works for community engagement in sport.

Coming up

As well as all that’s already outlined above, we have other opportunities coming up for members to input to policy development. In April we expect to host the team from the Government’s Office for Civil Society (within DCMS) as they consult youth workers on their forthcoming Youth Policy Statement for Government. And we’ve been working with the Greater London Authority on ensuring young people and youth organisations will have a stake in the forthcoming London Borough of Culture awards which the London Mayor has pledged to introduce.

If you would like to get involved in consultations and policy work, then please do look out in Member News for these opportunities. And please do let us know if there are consultations or areas of policy you would like us to explore further. Thanks for your support.

Email us at hello@londonyouth.org to get involved!