ON June 6th, a bill for a statutory youth service was read out in parliament by Lloyd Russell-Moyle MP, with the hope that providing a youth service will become law in England. Clare Harrison McCartney and Rhiannon May Jenkins, represented Harlow Young Labour and lobbied Robert Halfon MP of Harlow in parliament.
People from all over the country attended to back the bill. Clare and Rhiannon were invited to Robert Halfon MP’s office in parliament, to discuss the bill.
Clare said: “I remember play schemes in Harlow , which nurtured our talents. We had youth clubs and The Square was a great place to meet and feel safe amongst like minds. I feel that the lack of youth services is adding to the dissatisfaction and hopelessness that young people feel today. They need somewhere to go and have fun, and to find their own unique gift, be it art, music, writing, comedy, acting, politics or sport.
“Leisure time is not the same as work and school. The isolation of staying in and playing some computer games is not always healthy, socialising with people can be wonderful therapy and a good way to speak about our problems and worries. Many young people face life alone and wont always share their inner concerns. A youth service can provide a safe space for young people to express themselves.
Robert Halfon said spending money on youth schemes like these isn’t the whole answer to tackling antisocial behaviour.
He went on to say that there are wider societal issues that need to be tackled alongside providing youth schemes/provision, which he’d be happy to support.
He also said that the world is changing and some young people might not be interested in joining youth clubs so we need to think of creative and flexible ways to cater for today’s young people
Laura McAlpine, Parliamentary Candidate for Harlow and the villages and Young Labour Youth Coordinator said: “I will be supporting the inclusion of a statutory youth service in the next Labour manifesto as part of our education service. The disastrous , pernicious cuts that the Conservatives have inflicted on our councils have resulted in the closure of youth services across the country. Harlow has seen the closure of The Square and Occasio House, amongst other services that I benefited from in my youth. I will fight with all my might to ensure that the youth in Harlow are not the forgotten generation – they are our future and deserve the same support and services that we all benefited from.
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