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27 July, 2007

Focus on young people's positive impact on communities

The Citizenship Foundation has welcomed the government's ten year youth strategy published yesterday.

Chief Executive Tony Breslin said "We are pleased to see the renewed focus this strategy brings to the impact young people can have on their local communities and wider society and the increase in government funding to support this.

"Our work at the Citizenship Foundation aims to enable young people to have a meaningful say in the world around them, not just on young people's issues but on issues that affect the whole community. By aiming to put 'young people's concerns at the heart of government' this strategy is a welcome start and we hope that in practice it will enable purposeful participation."

"But in delivery, we need the strategy to go beyond the welcome provision of new facilities for young people. Every young person should be able to access well structured and purposeful youth action programmes - such as those provided through our Youth Act framework - that give young people the knowledge, skills, confidence and desire to engage as volunteer activists in their communities.

"Voluntary youth led activism - as Youth Act shows again and again - is a fantastic driver not just in the development of the young people but in the regeneration of their communities. Further, it should push us to think critically about the status of youth and community workers and informal educators and the importance of youth and community provision. For too long this vital area has been a Cinderella sector in the eyes of too many. Whether or not the strategy changes that reality will be a key mark of its success."

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