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Guest blog post - Keith Morgan, CEO Young Camden Foundation (YCF)

If we don’t protect youth services, we WILL lose a generation: Why I joined Young Camden Foundation (YCF)

Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London was the recipient of great indignation when he suggested that despite the intolerable rise in serious youth violence in the Capital, it could take a generation to stop young people dying on our streets. Why might it take a generation? Ultimately, the state does not currently have the agency or capacity to stop the knife crime epidemic. The families of the many victims of knife crime, would be forgiven for seeing Sadiq’s statement as almost writing off the lives of their children.

My initial reaction to his statement was also one of indignation, but as I reflected on my own experience as a young person, I came to the realisation that it was probably a depressing truth. We face the real prospect of losing a generation because of successive governments ineptitude to continue to invest in this country’s future, that is our young people. I was probably part of the last generation to have benefited from high levels of investment in youth services.

Borough spending per capita has fallen by a third since 2010-11. Boroughs’ efforts to protect social services spending has meant that cuts have fallen most heavily on what are sometimes called ‘discretionary’ services. These are in fact vital city services, including support for street and park services, and local youth, community and cultural activities (Centre for London, 2018).

Total cuts in youth service spending, 2010-2016

2010/11

2011/12

2012/13

2013/14

2014/15

2015/16

TOTAL

 

£62m

£137m

£41m

£24m

£85m

£38m

£38

*A future at risk Cuts in youth service: Unison

 

Far from accepting this catastrophe, I would like to believe that Sadiq’s intention was to spark anger and frustration to create a catalyst for positive community-led social action.

I certainly feel this anger and frustration which is why I joined Young Camden Foundation (YCF) as the Chief Executive. I choose not to accept the prospect of losing a generation, and vehemently believe that the only way we can do this is by building more capacity in the youth sector.

YCF is a membership-led organisation. We aim to provide solutions that are proactive and reactive to the needs of the local youth sector in order to improve the life chances of children and young people in the borough. Our objective is to drive change by directing resources towards developing longer-term solutions, bringing additional funding to the youth sector, and promoting cross-sector partnerships to address local needs. 

2018 was a busy year for us. We opened up the first Summer Opportunities Fund to respond to the growing concern of serious youth violence in the borough. We saw the fund as an opportunity to support and promote the delivery of fun, creative, and life changing activities during the summer holidays. We were overwhelmed by the interest from our members, and were pleased to fund thirteen projects, reaching almost 1,000 young people from across the borough.

We were also successful in our bid to address youth offending through the Community Impact Fund. We aim to use this fund to support the work our members do, focusing on; funding Youth-led Social Action projects; preventative work in some of the most affected areas; resourcing training for our members; and encouraging collaboration across the sector.

We’ve got some FANTASTIC plans for 2019!

I don’t want to give too much away, but as well as redirecting more investment to the local youth sector, we are going to be focusing on developing a Youth Ambassador programme; securing resources for a large scale work experience initiative; supporting more local young entrepreneurs; and bringing back our popular Summer Opportunities Fund.

If you want to find out more about Young Camden Foundation, or how you can become a member please contact us at info@youngcamdenfoundation.org.uk

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