The children’s commissioner for Wales has called for urgent action to protect youth services, amid fears that young people are suffering as a result of swingeing cuts.
Towler has vowed to create a focus on youth services for the remainder of his term as commissioner. Image: Christopher Jones
Publishing his annual report, Keith Towler said budget cuts and changes to the way that children and young people’s services are funded risk pushing youth provision across Wales to the “bottom of the priority list”.
Towler highlighted the fact that some young people have no access to good quality youth services and demanded “strong strategic support” for provision at both national and local level in Wales.
“Too often, I hear from young people and practitioners that youth services are undervalued and swamped by conflicting priorities,” Towler said.
“Youth services shouldn’t be seen as a soft target. I meet individuals and groups of young people almost on a weekly basis who are making positive contributions to their communities, be it through volunteering, as a member of a youth forum or a young mayor.
"These are real role models and future leaders that we should all be supporting and celebrating. I want to see a national commitment to this agenda that recognises the value of youth work and how it can help young people to overcome the challenges they face, such as lack of skills and youth unemployment.”
He added that he is “committed to providing a clear focus” on the issue for the remainder of his term as commissioner – which comes to an end in December 2014.
The annual report also outlines work that has taken place over the last 12 months, including a review into advocacy services for vulnerable children and young people.