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Young people should be positively engaged

The government's new Youth Taskforce aims to deliver on the 10-year strategy Aiming High for Young People, which focuses on the expansion of positive activities, creating new places to go and developing local services to support young people.

England is out of kilter on youth policy

At the end of last year, Tracey Crouch, England's youth minister, announced the shelving of plans for a new three-year youth policy statement, despite this being promised by her predecessor a year ago. The argument was that a broader civil society strategy was needed instead, one that embraced much more than youth work and youth policy.

Jobs famine deepens the generational rift

Just as youth unemployment hits a record high, fanning fears that Britain's young people could become a "lost generation", the government has scrapped the default retirement age. So more older people are now competing for fewer jobs with the rest of the workforce.

Youth work needs fresh young talent

It's easy to become consumed by your own job prospects in difficult economic times. But spare a thought for those looking to get a foot on the career ladder.

Big society could hit small charities hard

Will small and medium-sized youth charities be among the biggest losers of the coalition government? It seems an odd question to ask given the now youth minister Tim Loughton's comments before the election that he would make it a personal priority to find new ways of supporting the voluntary youth sector.

Embarrassing custody rates require creative solutions

The high number of young people held in youth custody in England and Wales has been a cause of national embarrassment. The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child has quite rightly raised concerns at the levels of young people held in our youth jails in its recent reports. Despite impressive reductions in recent years, more than 2,000 under-18s were in custody in May.

Capture the volunteers while we can

Volunteers are the life blood of youth work. According to the National Council for Voluntary Youth Services, more than 500,000 volunteers give up their spare time to work with young people, outnumbering the number of paid employees by almost 10 to one.

A tale from the dark side of democracy

Imagine a country that, although proclaiming its democratic credentials, continues to operate with levels of nepotism, and perhaps corruption, that we associate with the worst excesses of dictatorship or absolute monarchy.

Youth work is more vital now than ever

This year is shaping up to be the most challenging one for youth services in recent memory. Further cutbacks in public services coupled with nearly one million 16- to 24-year-olds not in employment, education or training are going to place a huge strain on youth services just at the time they are most needed.

Why O2's Think Big initiative is so important

We may come to remember that O2's Think Big initiative coincided with the recall of Jon Venables to prison and the resurrection in the popular consciousness of the horrendous murder of two-year-old James Bulger by two 10-year-olds.

Keep a young hand on purse strings

An impressive 2.5 million young people benefited from the youth opportunity and youth capital funds between 2006 and 2009, according to data compiled by the previous government.

Protect the youth opportunity fund

As CYP Now predicted last week, the Department for Education has removed the ringfence around the remaining 40.8m of the youth opportunity fund. The ringfence guaranteed that money went to local grant-making youth panels to spend on projects requested by local young people.

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