Sector leaders assured youth strategy will continue

By Gabriella Jozwiak

| 23 June 2017

Plans to publish a three-year youth policy are set to be pursued by the new government, the sector has been told.

Tracey Crouch was handed the youth policy brief following the general election. Picture: DCMS

Former youth minister Rob Wilson announced plans for a new strategy in November 2016, stating at the time that the government would work with the youth sector to develop a "clear narrative and vision" for how best to help young people. 

However, Wilson lost his Reading East seat in this month's general election and youth leaders raised concerns about the future of the strategy after sports, tourism and heritage minister Tracey Crouch took on the civil society brief last week

But National Youth Agency chief executive Paul Miller has told CYP Now he had been "reassured that the youth strategy will continue".

"Coupled with its new higher profile home with the sports minister, there is an opportunity to give it some teeth," he said. 

Miller said the strategy "should recognise the value of youth work and kick-start a cross-government plan that acknowledges its contribution to all aspects of young people's development".

He added: "I don't think anyone is under the illusion there will be pools of cash available, but we do need young people's issues to move up the agenda."

British Youth Council (BYC) chief executive Jo Hobbs said she was "delighted to hear that the work that was started on a youth policy statement under the previous government will be taken forward".

"We worked with the Office for Civil Society to ensure that this would be youth-led, engaging young people from BYC and other youth organisations to undergo fieldwork to engage young people in the process," she said.

Hobbs explained there was a "desperate need" for a clear youth strategy from the government to build on its former 2011 youth policy Positive for Youth.

"Young people tell us that cuts to youth services are reducing their access to opportunities that enable them to develop the skills, confidence and character needed to thrive in today's world and we hope to see a renewed commitment, under our new minister Tracey Crouch MP, to engaging youth and giving them a voice in the decisions that affect their lives," Hobbs said.

Institute for Youth Work chair Adam Muirhead called for the government to ensure the strategy would support professional recognition and development of youth work.

"We know that youth work offers meaningful, bespoke curricula for our young people that sees them as assets in their personal, social and professional development," he said.

"Seeing this reflected in the new youth policy would be very affirming."

Kathryn Morley, chief executive of OnSide Youth Zones, said: "It's encouraging that enabling innovation and multi-sector collaboration is still on the agenda and we'd be keen to share our learnings with the youth sector and government as part of the process.
"Innovative partnerships between business, local government, charities and young people are vital in order to provide the effective support and services that the younger generation deserve."

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has been contacted for comment.

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