SUPPORT THE YOUNGSTARS!!
Updated: Jul 24
If there ain't no hope for the youth, then the truth is: there ain't no hope for the future.
Sirlute is providing support for young people, where there seems to be an ever increasing void. Our free online writing and music workshops are creating a safe network and opportunities for at-risk young people.
Follow our progress and donate here: spacehive
The COVID-19 lockdown has been testing for everyone, and although lockdown has come to an end, the support for young people doesn’t have to. Sirlute has been running free online Creative Writing workshops, and mentoring programmes, as well as supporting a team of trainee’s and apprentices, during the lockdown period.
At least £35 million less per year is being spent on council youth services in London, compared with 2011-12. Youth worker jobs have declined substantially, and cuts have removed 46% of funding from London council youth services.
The freedom of information request responses, from 106 councils, showed that some councils cut funding for youth workers and clubs by 91% in three years. As youth services vanished knife offences exploded, increasing by 68% over the same period. (2014-2018)
Local authorities, who have had their funding slashed by the central government, say they have been forced to divert money to frontline services, protecting children at immediate risk of harm.
Denise Hatton, the chief executive of YMCA England and Wales, said:
“No part of society could be expected to suffer almost a billion pounds’ worth of real-terms cuts and for there to be no consequences across our communities. However, young people’s needs continue to be brushed aside by decision-makers as unworthy of support.
We believe this is unacceptable. Without drastic action to protect funding and significantly reinvest in youth services, we are condemning young people to become a lonely, lost generation with nowhere to turn.”
How did this happen?
In 2010 the government abolished all ring-fenced grants from the Department for Education, with the exception of the schools budget. This meant that, from April 2011, all central funding for youth services was merged into a new ‘Early Intervention Grant.’
The Early Intervention Grant was paid to councils as a separate non-ring fenced grant.
Government funding of youth services is not currently mandatory. With consistently less contributions from the government, no ring-fencing of funds, and increasing cuts to youth services, we’re left wondering where the money, that was previously available, is being allocated; there has been a wide variation in spending on youth services across the country.
On top of this, several councils are currently failing to provide data relating to their budgets and spending on youth services. The Government's lack of urgency in articulating a youth policy or strategic vision is embarrassing, and unfortunately for most of us - not surprising. So, what are we going to do? Well …
We need your support
Over the next month we’re hoping to raise £7,000 - which will provide continued support for young people, from low-income families, through our summer programmes. If we're successful in raising £3,000, we could be considered for a pledge from The Tower Hamlets Innovation Fund - an initiative that is supporting local Voluntary and Community organisations, through crowdfunding - that will ensure we reach our target.
We’ll be running some more online educational and creative programmes, as well as music production workshops, and 1-2-1 mentoring, aimed at 7-16 year olds; providing 5 workshops per week. We’ll also be able to cover the cost of travel and food for our trainees and apprentices, giving them the tools they need for the workplace, as well as a safe space to learn and develop their skills.
Each One Teach One
With the summer holidays approaching, many children, young adults, and parents are going to be faced with more weeks of restlessness and potentially risk-taking behaviour.
Youth services are vital in preventing knife crime, mental health difficulties, and drug tendencies in young people. Homicides in the UK are at the highest level for more than a decade, with children as young as nine carrying knives for protection.
“Councils, not central government, are best placed to know what their communities need and they take decisions about how much they spend on youth services,” said one government spokesperson.
The classic government deflect response. Most of the funding for these services is coming from, and being cut by, the government. But, pushing all of the responsibility onto the government isn’t entirely fair. We absolutely need their support, but the plan for action has to come from the ground up.
It’s easy to fall down the rabbit hole of blame when looking at the figures relating to youth service cuts over the last decade, and yes, it is questionable that the current Secretary of State for Education (Gavin Williamson) was dismissed from his previous role as Secretary of State for Defence … but we’re focusing on making positive steps towards the future.
The team at Sirlute have been applying their individual experience to support the YoungStars who need it most; we plan to be successful in creating some valuable prospects for the community.
The transition between childhood and adulthood is a vulnerable one. We know that our services are providing crucial support, giving young people with a safe platform to reach out and seek advice from professionals.
The Sirlute team have immense experience and understanding of what is missing in the community, simply because this is where they are coming from. How many government officials did you go to school with? Exactly … we can’t expect them to know what to do, when most have no lived experience of the issues that we’re facing. With nearly all of the chairs in the houses of parliament being filled by a majority of people who do not represent our community, as a whole, it doesn’t make sense for us to look to them for answers; we simply have to ask ourselves: what can we do? If we are not invested in helping our community, why should they be?
Gillender Street Studio is our temporary home, where we’re able to share skills and equipment with our trainees, apprentices, and YoungStars, some of whom are with us 5 days per week. This however will not be the case as from September 28th, if we do not find an alternative space.
So far we've raised almost £1,200, from just 12 backers. We hope that, with your generosity, we'll be able to make a substantial difference to the community by reaching our target of £8,500.
With a permanent studio space, we can continue to create more opportunities for young people, with additional free online educational services, mentoring, workshops, apprenticeships and more.
Re-connecting with our community creates the vital support that we all deserve. Many hands make light work; together we can achieve greatness.
Follow our progress and donate here: spacehive