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Call for investment in youth work and youth services on International Children’s day

SEPTEMBER 25, 2018

The destruction of the youth services and de-professionalisation of youth work shows youth worker morale at rock bottom.

Unite the Union, the leading trade union voice for youth and community workers in the UK, is calling for a substantial increase in investment for youth services on International Children’s’ day (1 June).  This comes as the union publishes the results from a survey of its’ members which paints a bleak picture for youth and community work.

Some of the key headline findings since the last questionnaire two years ago were:

  • 77% of respondents’ morale and motivation in their workplace was worse or a lot worse
  • 67% of respondents frequently or always stayed late at work
  • 63% of respondents’ workload increased a lot
  • 61% of respondents’ responsibilities increased
  • 55% of respondents would definitely or probably not recommend youth work as a profession

Some of the reasons of why morale has decreased in the workplace in the last two years have been given below. 

  • Threats to job security (75.6%)
  • Increased workplace stress (74.8%)
  • Restructuring and reorganisation (71.5%)
  • Dissatisfaction with the quality of service you are able to provide (61.0%)
  • Reduced career prospects (56.9%)
  • Job losses (52.0%)
  • Falling value of take home pay (52.0%)

Since 2010 it has been estimated that over £387 million has been cut from youth services in England.  This has led to hundreds of youth centres being closed, tens of thousands of hours of lost contact time with young people and thousands of youth and community workers losing their jobs.  In a report from Unite from last year, practitioners, academics and young people can see youth work being de-professionalised which will impact on the quality of youth work services for young people.

Colenzo Jarrett-Thorpe, National Officer for Youth, Community and Playworkers, said “The news of the dozens of teenagers and young people that have lost their lives to knife or gun crime in our country this year is a stain on our nation and indicates services for children and young people have a low priority for this government, especially after the previous home secretary, didn’t agree that young people didn’t have anything to do, when young people across the land lament the closure of their facilities and the lack of provision for them, especially if they do not have the means to pay.”

 “On International Children’s day the government need to listen to young people, and youth work practitioners and pay up for youth work. We know that to provide a functioning youth service across England would cost around £400 million which is basically the money that has been removed from youth services.  If the Government do believe young people are our future, they need to back up sweet words with action and invest in young people.”

Mr Jarrett-Thorpe continued “We welcome the Labour Party’s pledges to reverse the cuts in youth services and to put youth work on a statutory footing by introducing a statutory youth work bill should a Labour Government be elected.”

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