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CEO’s Thoughts (September Newsletter)

30 September 2021

Welcome to our September newsletter.

With the summer behind us and the team at Berkshire Youth delivering to hundreds of young people every day, who without the support of a youth offer would literally have nowhere to go and no one to talk to, it is astounding that the National Youth Agency and YMCA are not getting any traction with a youth strategy from central government. Read their joint report, Time’s Running Out, here.

It has taken us over 10 years to secure the Waterside Centre and to gain enough traction for people to start supporting the project. Without dogged determination and endless battles and bravery of individuals, the Berkshire Youth offer to young people would not happen.

The Berkshire Youth team spend hours, weeks and months of our lives advocating on behalf of young people, not to criminalise or medicalise them. But what do we get? More specialist services, more interventions and even less prevention / support. The government has promised hundreds of millions to services for young people, yet they have not allocated this pot and when they do it will yet again go to the areas outside the South East, meaning Berkshire will get nothing, whilst the poverty gap is getting bigger and services are overwhelmed with demand.

The Waterside Centre has been completed on the strength of donations, personal favours and great people doing good things. We truly welcome this, but the lead has to come from somewhere and currently we are all playing a lonely game. If the government want to reduce the long-term pressure on the state services it has to support and invest in prevention; and why are young people constantly ignored?

Every one of us should be a champion for young people; every company, every individual and every service should have young people champions. Let’s start investing in the future not this constant reflection and intervention.

How exciting it is to be working in an organisation that invests in the very nature of the future. We do our bit, but we need far more support and help.

I hope you enjoy reading this newsletter, which highlights the ways in which the Berkshire Youth team are working so hard to support young people.

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