07 October 2019
The annual Conservative Party Conference took place in Manchester on 29th September – 1st October. London Youth was there on behalf of the 450+ community youth organisations in our network to make the case for great youth work and improving the lives of young Londoners.
What we learned
Chancellor Sajid Javid announced a Youth Investment Fund, which will distribute £500 million nationally over the next five years. This is very encouraging news for the voluntary youth sector. We will be working closely with our national partners to ensure the needs of London’s grassroots youth clubs are considered when deciding how and when this money is allocated. You can read our full statement in response to the announcement here.
A chance meeting with the Youth Minister, Baroness Diana Barran, means we will be introducing her to some of our members and the young people they work with later this year. It is vital for politicians to experience first hand what open access youth service provision in London feels like, alongside the real need facing young Londoners today.
We attended a number of fringe events and other ministerial speeches, which were enlightening on the Government’s priorities and focus for young people in the future:
- Mims Davies MP, previously the Youth Minister and now Employment Minister, spoke passionately about the need to rebrand job centres as ‘community hubs’, so that they become places young people want to go. This would begin to address some of the problems with statutory support and negative experiences young people face as identified in our Hidden in Plain Sight research, where one young person said “If I go to the job centre, it means I’ve lost”.
- Devolution was high on the agenda, with the Chancellor promising a White Paper in the future. The strength of feeling for increased investment across services and infrastructure outside London was palpable. With emotive language such as “one nation investment” being used to ensure a “levelling up of investment for places left behind”. So we have a job to do to ensure that nationally there is a clear understanding of the case for support and real need facing young Londoners, with those aged 18 and under now making up 1 in 4 of our population.