Teenagers’ lives outside school are often unstructured and chaotic, interim findings of a national inquiry into young people published this week reveal.
The Make Space Youth Review, which has collected the views of more than 7,000 young people since it was launched last July, says that teenagers are concerned for their own personal safety and want help from adults, as well as safe places in the community to meet friends and try new things.
The interim report calls for new style youth centres in every community to meet these demands, and “mobile intervention teams” to work in areas of high deprivation, offering positive alternatives to offending. The new centres, dubbed “Sure Start for older children’ centres, would bring together social activities, health information and support, dance, music, sport, advice services and parental support.
The report also recommends extra support and training for the youth service workforce to develop a new breed of “youth champions” to inspire young people in youth centres and the community.
Launching the report, review chair and political campaigner Oona King said that young people were getting a bad deal from society and that was time to offer them more support.
“We have to build young people back into communities,” she said. “Not doing this costs us billions dealing with the consequences of antisocial behaviour, crime and violence and even more in the emotional consequences of a dispossessed generation of teenagers.”
Contact the author: Lauren Revans