Hughes says ‘cutting edge services’ key to youth plan

Children’s minister Beverley Hughes (pictured) has said the government’s new 10-year youth services strategy is the most ambitious policy for all young people in decades, writes Nina Jacobs.

But Hughes warned engaging disadvantaged young people would prove the “critical test” of the strategy, which aims to deliver new and improved youth facilities in every community.

The Department for Children, Schools and Families last week announced an extra £184m from 2008-11 for the strategy, alongside £495m of continued funding.

Hughes said the new measures would empower young people and give them a greater say in the provision of local services.

“What happens in some local authorities is not imaginative. We will be using cutting edge facilities to excite and engage young people.”

She rejected the idea of compulsory out-of-school activities for young people such as sports, music or drama clubs, which think-tank the Institute for Public Policy Research called for last week.

However, Hughes said that forcing young people to engage was a “wrongheaded” approach, adding: “Young people have got   to feel a sense of ownership over the sort of activities they do.”

Craig Jones, director of the Make Space youth services campaign at charity 4Children, said he was pleased the strategy had taken into account its three key recommendations: setting up “physical centres” for young people, co-locating services and upgrading existing sites rather than building new ones.

However, he added: “Our only caveat is that we think 10 years is a long time to deliver.”

But the Local Government Association said that a long-term vision was needed.


➔ New and improved youth facilities in every constituency.
➔ Better availability of year-round activity-based support schemes.
➔ Giving young people direct influence over an increasing proportion of local authority funding for activities.
➔ Primary care trusts and youth offending teams to pool budgets with local authorities.

Further information
Essential information on youth services
See The Child Minder’s blog for more on Youth Services

Contact the author
Nina Jacobs

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