YOUNG PEOPLE’S VIEWS ON FACILITIES GIVEN NEW IMPORTANCE
All local authorities are being urged to follow the lead of the best councils in providing excellent services and facilities for young people. From this week they will have to ensure that young people have access to a range of ‘positive activities’ such as youth clubs and art projects. Councils will also have to take into account young people’s views on those facilities that are already available as well as their opinions on what new activities they would like to see.
The requirements are coming into force as part of last year’s Education and Inspections Act and they will mean that local authorities not only seek young people’s views but that they also publish these and keep the information up-to-date. Under the Act, positive activities include sports clubs, cultural events and volunteering schemes and they can be educational or recreational. The only stipulation is that they should contribute to young people’s well-being.
Young People’s Minister, Beverley Hughes, said, “Some local authorities already provide excellent services for young people, we want to see that ethos spread, and the rest catch up with the best.” The new requirements were first set out in the Green Paper, “Youth Matters” as part of the Department for Education’s commitment to engaging and empowering young people as well as working with local authorities. During consultations six out of ten young people as well as a majority of parents who were questioned said there was not enough to do in the areas in which they lived.
The Government is providing four and a half million pounds this year and next to support local authorities in the development and publicising of local activities and places to go. That funding is in addition to the 115 million pounds of Youth Opportunity and Capital Funds, through which the DfES supports youth-led activities and the creation or improvement of places for young people within their communities.