Government announcements on Life Chances

29 Jan 2016

The Prime Minister made a speech recently on what his government are doing to improve life chances for the poorest in our communities. It was wide ranging, covering social action, sport, health, housing and more, much of it relevant to young people.Here’s NYA’s response to his announcements:

  • £1bn investment in NCS

We welcome this investment in the social action programme. Mixing young people from different backgrounds is a key benefit of NCS so with this expansion there must be an even greater focus on bringing the benefits to young people under represented within the programme including BME young people, disadvantaged and those living in a rural location.

  • Support for young people and arts/ culture

Publically funded arts and culture should strive to be both relevant and accessible to young people, yet there are numerous barriers from perception to financial costs. Getting arts programmes to open their doors to young people is important but wider support is required to really remove this cultural disenfranchisement. We look forward to reading the detail in the forthcoming Life Chances Strategy.

  • Mentoring programmes for young people

Measures to inspire young unemployed people are welcome and mentoring can spark ambition and lift aspiration. In our experience developing a relationship with a trusted adult can help young people develop confidence and self-esteem. Employing youth work skills may give mentors a greater connection with young people which will bring greater success.

  • Young people and sport

Sport can help develop young people’s confidence and self-esteem so expanding sports provision is positive. Sports coaches can help boost young people’s performance by studying basic youth work training, helping them understand young people’s development and how to connect with them for positive impact.

  • Young people and mental health

The current focus on young people’s mental health is very welcome. As well as faster treatment, consideration needs to be given to building young people’s resilience so they are better equipped to deal with the challenging situations life throws at them, from unemployment to exam pressure to unrealistic body images. Youth work can contribute and help young people develop into resilient, well-rounded adults.

  • Tearing down of social housing estates

In demolishing housing stock and rebuilding estates it is important that young people are given a key role in the consultation process.  Housing needs have changed since many of these estates were built and new housing must reflect the needs of the young too.