Summer recess is a good opportunity to catch up with groups and events in the constituency even if this year that’s mainly been virtual.
One of the most instructive meetings was led by the YMCA to discuss how we can work together to make Youth Friendly Communities. We’ve all endured the pandemic, but it has been particularly tough for young people. There is a growing recognition of the importance of youth services as we begin to build back better. The Government is committed to a Youth Investment Fund with £500 million to level up left behind areas. The reality is however that youth provision has been cut by twice that figure over the last decade and the pandemic has turbo charged problems of accessing jobs and training as well as issues like mental health.
We owe it to young people to work together to find ways to get greater security in employment and having somewhere secure to live. A quarter of all registered homeless people are between 18 and 24 and even in supported housing young people in work often can’t afford to save to move on, that’s if they have a job. One in ten young people are NEETs without work, training or education. After a decade of underinvestment there is no quick solution, but it makes sense for community groups and charities to work closely with statutory agencies and to challenge the culture which too often sees young people as a problem. We need communities to be youth friendly and once again the YMCA is providing a strong voice.