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CEO’s Thoughts (January Newsletter)

27 January 2022

Welcome to our January newsletter. I hope that you’re having a great start to 2022.

Firstly, I am sad to share the news of the death of Terry Mason OBE, who passed away on Thursday 6 January. Please read a little more about Terry’s life and his long-lasting commitment to improving the lives of local young people here. Terry will be greatly missed and out thoughts are with Terry’s loved ones at this sad time.

Berkshire Youth began the new year with a feature on BBC South News following the Bishop of Reading’s comments about the direct link between the rise of knife crime in the region and the decade of cuts in funding to youth services. Her comments came after a memorial for Olly Stephens, one year after his murder. How awful that it takes a tragedy such as this to raise the important issues surrounding our young people! However, it was good to be able to share news of the work we do to at Berkshire Youth to support young people and the feature led to some great discussions, including Former Children’s Commissioner, Anne Longfield, calling for more youth clubs and intervention before crisis hits. You can watch the feature again on our YouTube channel here.

Another good watch was the Countryfile feature on Sunday 16 January which discussed youth services, highlighting the issues of County Lines in rural areas and market towns and how young people with no criminal backgrounds / socially isolated are being targeted – well worth watching on the BBC iPlayer if you can. Is everyone finally taking on board how important these issues are?

Yesterday, we were delighted to welcome around 50 guests to our Champions of Youth Work Conference at Waterside Centre. It was brilliant to be able to get so many people together in person to discuss how we can best champion young people and keep them at the heart of all we do. Thank you so much to everyone who came and took part in the informative discussions. I would particularly like to thank our inspirational guest speakers: Leigh Middleton, CEO, The National Youth Agency; Louise James, Greenham Trust; and the brilliant young people, Ellis and Dennis, for sharing how our youth workers have had such a positive impact and lasting change on their lives. Who could fail to be impressed and moved by their words? Keep an eye on our social media over the coming weeks – using the hashtag: #YouthPledge2022 – to see what we’re doing as the hard work continues. If you weren’t able to come along yesterday, you can read more about our conference here.

Here’s to a great 2022!

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