In its proposed budget, the council has earmarked £4.5 million for each of the next three years for youth services, with plans to double the number of “youth zones” in the borough to eight.
This commitment, combined with the work of the Newham youth safety board, has led to dozens more youth workers being put in place, after an interview process which gave young people a say in the recruitment.The council says the 40-strong team represents the largest expansion of youth workers anywhere in the country.
Mayor of Newham Rokhsana Fiaz said: “At a time when austerity is forcing many local authorities to cut youth funding, Newham is bucking the trend.”This new money was not easy to come by, but we have no choice – these young people are our future and must be our priority.”
YMCA analysis estimates youth services nationally have been cut by 69 per cent in a decade and will reach the lowest point in a generation this year.Newham’s first commissioner for children and young people’s services, Geeta Subramaniam-Mooney, has been appointed to lead the council’s approach to youth safety and decriminalising young people caught up in violence.
She said: “We all need to take responsibility for changing the current situation – our children and young people deserve the best throughout their childhoods and into adulthood.”Violence is not normal and can be prevented – it is an urgent imperative that we all take collective action to ensure our children do not experience violence in their lives.”
The youth safety board, which Ms Fiaz created in March last year, is a partnership between young people, families who have experienced the effects of crime and violence, the council, police, and health and education services.Ms Fiaz said: “Tackling violence an exploitation is a serious and urgent issue and a personal priority.
“The board has done a lot of listening and learning and we have got some really challenging issues that we must deal with together, including looking for ways to prevent violence.”
Special Thanks to Newham Recorder for their Article.