At the rally yesterday, young people called on councillors to walk in their shoes, and recounted their tales of how the youth service helps them.
A young woman, who goes to the Void in Yardley, told us how she used to be a singer and dancer, performing at high profile venues around Birmingham like the ICC and Birmingham Rep. She went through some tough times and had to stop. Since going to the Void, she is back dancing and happy again, and back on her career path. She said that without the youth service “she’d probably still be a bum sitting on the sofa at home”.
Alec, 18, had been attending Ashford Youth Centre since he was 14:
it changed my life around completely, before that I was getting arrested and stuff like that but last year I finally bought the courage to start joining the army, now 18 and half way through training and I’ve come back this weekend just to support you lot and I’m here just to keep the youth centres going. It works, it does bloody work man
Randell and Simone, two young people from Oaklands in Handsworth, along with a Youth worker Marcus, told us how the centre plays an important role in supporting the Carnival, as it provides a space where young people and the community can make costumes and other preparations. The youth centre is an integral part of the community, and Oaklands is one of the cornerstones for delivery for the carnival, showing how the closure of youth centres will ripple to affect other things in the community.
centres like this we really do need because they keep young people off the street, we engage with them and empower them and they can get their ambitions and we’re just there to help them.
These cuts to the youth service must be stopped, Birmingham is the youngest city in Europe, and with youth unemployment claimant rate (the lower measure of unemployment) locally at 20% and as high as 50% in some wards, with Connexions threatened with closure again and EMA scrapped young people are finding routes to education and training closing off and the support and advice they used to get disappearing. We deserve better than this. Join us on Monday 4th Feb to tell Labour to defy the Tory cuts and do the right thing for our city and people. If they stop the cuts to youth services by cutting something else, other people will suffer instead – there is no such thing as a fair cut, we must oppose austerity which is flatlining our economy and causing the deficit to rise.
Demo meets 5pm at Waterstones High Street by the Bullring, march on the council house as Labour meet to decide their budget proposals.