This is my story; I grew up in Bristol during the 1980s, coming from what would now be described as a ‘white working class family’ with limited life chances that were compounded by attending a failing secondary school.
When I was 12 or 13 I was lucky enough to have a brand new youth centre open it’s doors just five minutes from home and I spent more time there than anywhere else when I was growing up. I met some amazing youth workers at that club, who helped me learn about myself, the people around me and the wider world and develop my confidence and resilience. They might be called ‘soft skills’, but they have real value and I use them everyday in my job as a Director of Children’s Services.
Everyone at the National Youth Agency believes passionately about the value of youth work and the contribution it can make to improving lives, which is why I volunteer as a trustee and am so proud of the work we do.
Michael Bracey is chair of NYA’s trustees.