2010 was a tough year for all those working in the youth services sector. The planning for the election then the election itself followed by the bedding in of a hybrid Government that has determined to create an era of austerity. Whatever one's political views, the mess those of us in the youth services sector find ourselves in now is far from fair and every politician in the country has a level of accountability for it.
Let's be honest though, the country is not financially bankrupt. Did anyone notice the figure of £15 million that was wasted on the flawed 2018 world cup bid? Where did that money come from? The economy that fuels the £250k a week wages of Wayne Rooney and his fellow England football team under performers.. where does that materialise from? "Out of thin air"? And what of the high earning senior civil servants that run the "system" that is failing us? And the banking industry bonuses?
We are staging the Olympics with much pomp and ceremony. Look what happened to Athens after they wasted public money in the same way. Meanwhile here in London we have "cycle super highways" forced on us at huge cost then get told there is no money for youth services. We read about new bridges being built over the Thames and of plans to build airports in the middle of the river yet we cant keep youth clubs open.
Has anyone in Government looked at how low-earning families from the inner cities are going to be able to keep their kids in school beyond 16 to take their A levels once EMA is stripped away from them. How many more kids will be walking the streets scratching their heads with nothing to do? Will there be jobs for them?
CMI remains dedicated to speaking out about knife crime and the need to influence young people positively about the dangers of carrying knives. It also has a social conscience though and the poverty and plight of the inner cities is very important to us as it is a big factor. The negative influence of the gangs gets stronger when the system is failing and politicians are imposing more suffering on our poorest people. Meanwhile we have never had a greater need for the law to be observed and proper governance of the justice system. This is not what we are seeing and not even what we are being promised by Kenneth Clarke!
So what do we do? Run away... Dig a big hole and bury ourselves in it then refuse to come out until sense and SENSITIVITY has returned? Or do we roll up our sleeves and say 2011.. BRING IT ON?
Happy New Year
Gary - Damilola Taylor Trust
Read more about and consider joining the Count Me In campaign