Government sets out strategy to be Positive for Youth

Published on Wednesday, 04 January 2012 12:45
Posted by Scott Buckler

Children's Minister, Tim Loughton, has announced that young people across the country should be able to inspect their local youth services and advise on how to improve them

The Government has published a new vision for young people and youth services, Positive for Youth, in which Mr Loughton calls on every local authority to get young people involved in local decision-making.

The Government also wants local authorities to build stronger partnerships with voluntary organisations and local businesses to develop opportunities for young people in their local communities. Many businesses, such as Starbucks, 02 and the Co-operative are leading the way with innovative projects that are inspiring young people. Positive for Youth brings together everything the Government is doing to support young people. It has been produced with youth professionals and young people themselves.

To build a society that is more Positive for Youth, the Government is:


  • Providing £320,000 to Business in the Community to build links between businesses and young people in their local areas.
  • Giving young people the chance to 'youth proof' government policy. A new national scrutiny group and youth select committee will monitor and advise on government policy.
  • Calling on all local authorities to give young people a voice in local decision-making. Local authorities should introduce programmes like youth mayors or youth inspectors to give youngsters a say. This could include: auditing local services such as youth clubs and leisure services to make them more youth-friendly.
  • Establishing four new Youth Innovation Zones to develop new, creative approaches to youth services across the country. The first four areas, Devon, Hammersmith and Fulham, Haringey, and Knowsley will each get £40,000 to set up the zones.
  • Publishing revised statutory guidance for consultation in the New Year on local authorities' duty to secure activities and services for young people.
  • Providing capital investment to complete 63 myplace centres by April 2013, and developing a national approach to exploit their potential to be led by communities and businesses.
  • Expanding National Citizen Service to offer 30,000 places to young people in 2012, 60,000 in 2013, and 90,000 in 2014.

Tim Loughton said: "For too long young people in this country have had a raw deal. The vast majority are law-abiding, want to do well at school and are making a positive contribution to their communities. More youngsters volunteer than any other group in society. We must recognise their achievements.

"I want Positive for Youth to be a turning point in how we view and treat young people, and in how we think about youth services. In a tough economic climate, bringing in charities and businesses to help develop and provide youth services is the way forward. There are some superb projects run by organisations like British Youth Council, O2, Starbucks and the Co-operative, building links between young people and their local communities.

"Councils should also think about how to get young people involved in decisions that affect them. I want them to open their doors to young people and get them involved - auditing and inspecting local services and listening to their ideas on how to improve things."

Raising young people's aspirations and educational attainment is crucial to their success in life. The Government has already announced in the Schools White Paper: The Importance of Teaching, significant reforms and investment to radically improve educational standards. The Government has also set out a new strategy to increase young people's participation in learning and work, Building Engagement, Building Futures.

The Government will be measuring progress by local authorities, and central government, in delivering better, more targeted opportunities for young people. Without creating new burdens on local authorities, the Government will publish annual data on positive and aspirational measures for young people. The Government will also publish at the end of 2012 a 'one year on' progress update towards creating a society which is more positive for youth.

Kris Engskov, Managing Director of Starbucks UK & Ireland, said: "There are growing pressures facing youth today, but there are still many reasons to be optimistic about the large number of incredible young people with the ambition and enthusiasm to make a difference in their communities.

"They deserve our support and they deserve to be heard. That's why we're backing the Positive for Youth initiative and why we are giving funding and training to young people across the country through our Starbucks Youth Action Programme."

Ronan Dunne, Chief Executive Officer, Telefonica UK Ltd said: "We believe in young people. That is why we run O2 Think Big - a social action programme that provides funding, training and support for young people who are running projects across the UK to improve their local communities."

"I am constantly struck by the desire of young people to contribute to society, to make a positive difference to the world around them. Thousands of our staff gets involved in their local Think Big projects and many of the young people we support spend time inside the company to learn more about our business and the world of work.  Giving young people the support and opportunities they need to fulfil their potential is one of the biggest challenges facing the country.  We welcome the Government's Positive for Youth initiative."

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