A few days ago there was a call from the National Youth Agency (NYA) and one of their key workers Abbee McLatchie to the Government. The comments can be obtained from this article in the CYP Now magazine. Abbee is the Director of Youth Work for the NYA in England. It is clear that NYA and Abbee have a great deal of insight which is far stronger than the views being expressed by the Government when it comes to youth issues. The Minister who currently needs to listen to Abbee and respond to her requirements is Priti Patel who clearly does not have a very good grasp for many of the areas that she is responsible for. Abbee has worked within the field of youth work, training and development for over 20 years. She is an experienced leader who strives for quality and professionalism in youth work, applying this passion to her role at the NYA. NYA was formed in 1964 as an information centre for youth services at the National College for the Training of Youth Leaders in Leicester. In the 1970s it became the National Youth Bureau and then in 1991 the National Youth Agency. The NYA has stated that
more needs to be done to support young people in the community, including funding to train and recruit 10,000 new qualified youth workers, 40,000 trained adult volunteers and 20,000 young people up-skilled as entry-level youth workers. It is also calling for a named police officer for each neighbourhood partnered with a named, qualified youth worker and increased ringfenced funding for local authority youth services.
Abbee has also called out that
It is critical that there is a major programme of investment in youth work. It is no coincidence that a loss of youth services over the last decade has led to increased concerns, fears and levels of crime across communities. Qualified youth workers have specialist skills and experience, working alongside schools and colleges, social care, policing and youth justice. Yet there simply aren’t enough to go around. The erosion of youth services and lack of coordination has exposed young people and their families to gangs, exploitation, trauma and isolation and lack of support in their mental health, addiction or safeguarding. A targeted response to serious violence is of course welcome but to break the cycle, to prevent and reduce crime, means getting in early – working with young people, rather than seeing them as a problem to fix.
So the question has to be when will Priti Patel listen to these comments and then invited Abbee and her team into the Home Office so that the youth issues can be responded to the NYA calls.