Unfortunately I don’t do this often as this period of my life is pretty much uneventful – sorry guys! – as I remembered spending my weekends loitering outside Mc Donalds or killing long hours in our local park.
It wasn’t because I was a troublemaker, or that I was an unimaginative teen, it was simply due down to the lack of things to do. There just didn’t seem any places to go. We couldn’t afford leisure centre memberships or to dine in fancy restaurants, we were too young to drink but too old to enjoy the swings at the park. There were just no options, no facilities, no possibilities and without even trying my friends and I were branded nuisances by society. Move on, quieten down, go home – the public would have preferred us to become a generation of TV zombies, to become permanent fixtures in our own bedrooms. Out of sight out of mind as they say.
This year as our nation witnessed the horrendous riots spawning across our cities and causing heartbreak and disruption across the country I wondered what society would think of young people now.
It is far too difficult to embody all the political and social aspects that surround the frenzy of the riots – but some factors are clear. There was a majority of young people amongst that crowd, some of whom had no morals or integrity it’s true, but many that simply belonged to a lost generation – one that was not of their own making. No jobs, no work, no prospects. No facilities, no activities, no fun. No faith, no confidence, no ambition. You get the jist.
Today I read a BBC report about a peaceful rally organised by Choose Youth, a group of more than 30 national youth sector voluntary organisations, which saw young people from across the country make a stand for their rights as they staged a protest in London over cuts to youth services.
The protest was a response to a report by the Unite union which suggested that the amount councils in England and Wales were spending on youth services was falling. In addition The Institute for Fiscal Studies said education spending was falling at its fastest rate since the 1950s.
Coming from far and wide, and in their hundreds, the young people had only one message for the people in power: “Save our services.” The very services which was keeping them off the streets and helping them change their lives for the better.
More than 1,000 teenagers went to the Westminster’s Methodist Central Hall to rally against council cuts to the parts of their lives that they value the most. From youth clubs to counselling services, and adventure trips to art classes, they spoke passionately about why cuts to young people’s services were unfair and disproportionate, and why they would – not just could – hurt Britain’s future.
It is feared that there could be a repeat of August’s riots – but on an even wider scale – unless people their age have enough to do. With opportunities repeatedly snatched from their grasp it’s hardly surprising that these young people dubbed the ‘failed generation’ are finally taking a stand.
How somewhereto_ can help
At Culturapedia I act as North West regional coordinator for a fantastic project, one I can’t promote enough, called somewhereto_.
somewhereto_ places young people at the core of their mission, helping them find spaces and places to do the things they love within culture, arts and sport.
It is through this Legacy Trust UK project that we hope to restore passion and ambition in young people nationwide. Instead of a barrage of move ons, keep quiets and go homes that I experienced in my younger days we want to say yes and unlock potential places for these people to develop, grow and most of all, have fun.
somewhereto_ can help these young people find that studio to do band practice, locate that football field for their five aside team, arrange a dance hall for a group of aspiring break dancers and hold events for young people in halls so the bright young minds of our country may finally have a chance to show what they are capable of. There is certainly not a lack of places for these activities to be held, our country is full of them. Whether it is a field, an abandoned warehouse, a community theatre, a leisure centre or even a commercial recording studio there are thousands of disused spaces crying out to be filled with creative activities to promote a happier and brighter community for everyone – especially are young people.
To show what heights we can reach if we work together watch this spectacular somewhereto_ video where young people got creative in the amazing No.10 Downing Street. We are getting our young people heard: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GhBJrq1mhxU
Of course, as with anything, we know somewhereto_ is not a quick fix solution but what it is is an ingenious idea which will restore faith and confidence in a ‘failed’ generation that only ever wanted to succeed.
Get involved with somewhereto_ today. Visit: www.somewhereto.com/