Councillors pledge to revive Milton Keynes youth clubs so every teenager has 'somewhere to go'

Ruling Labour councillors have promised to revive youth services for young people throughout MK.

Thursday, 11th March 2021, 2:57 pm
Updated Thursday, 11th March 2021, 2:58 pm

They say the move could not only reduce knife crime, but provide an access point for training and support to enable teenagers to fulfill their potential.

Youth Clubs were once the hub of the community for young people and formed an important part of teenagers' lives in the 1970s and 80s.

But over the decades, funding has dried up and many have closed or been forced to scale back activities.

Youth clubs would keep young people off the streets

Spending on youth services in England and Wales has been cut by 70 per cent in real terms over the past decade, resulting in the loss of 750 youth centres and more than 4,500 youth workers nationally.

The Milton Keynes proposal, which comes during the local election campaign, forms part of MK Labour’s 'Promise to Families' pledge.

They are vowing to look at how youth services are delivered across Milton Keynes and give young people, particularly teenagers, places to go when not in school.

Their proposed new service would work with partners across the charity, social enterprise and business sectors, as well as education providers, parish councils.

I would involve the use of existing council facilities to provide services to offer recreational activities and also provide opportunities to help young people into training or jobs.

Labour believe that improving services for young people will also help in the fight against knife crime in the city.

Cllr Lauren Townsend, Cabinet member for Community Safety said: “A Labour-led MK Council will deliver a new, modern youth service for our children and young people. Youth services are some of the services that have been hardest hit but austerity and cuts, but that isn’t fair, and as we come out of the pandemic we need to make sure that another generation of young people doesn’t pay the price. Too often our young people are marginalised, ignored or vilified.”

She added: “Our Promise to Families is that we won’t let our young people or local families pay the price for the pandemic. A new youth service that supports our young people, provides opportunities and gives people hope in tough times will help ensure that doesn’t happen.”

Akash Nayee, Labour campaigner in Stony Stratford said: “I want to live in a Milton Keynes where the council fights to make sure every child and young person can fulfil their potential.

"A new youth service that brings together partners to make that happens and gives teenagers something positive to do is a great idea, and using facilities such as Galley Hill Community Centre, that’s just secured nearly £400,000 of investment from the Labour Council to bring it back into use, would be amazing.”