NI Youth Forum calls on John O’Dowd to rethink budget
The Northern Ireland Youth Forum is extremely concerned to read of the scale of the proposed cuts to the Department of Education in its Draft Budget for 2015/16. The Youth Forum appeals to the Minister to urgently rethink his plans, particularly in relation to the 10% cut his department wishes to impose on the youth work sector.
We believe that as young people in NI we have suffered enormously from the recession and subsequent austerity measures imposed upon us.
We have one of the highest youth populations in Europe, who continue to suffer disproportionally. NI is currently experiencing record levels in terms of youth unemployment; with young people facing higher risks in terms of living in poverty and social exclusion. Young people have found themselves consistently being punished for an economic crisis not of our own doing.
While the NI Youth Forum recognises the wider budgetary crisis the Stormont Executive finds itself in, we believe that the wider Education Sector provides huge value for money and that in the long term; this budget will be counter productive in terms of breaking down barriers and improving the prospects of all young people in our society.
The value of youth work is clearly demonstrated in the report prepared for the European Commission entitled ‘Working with young people: the value of youth work in the European Union’; as well as in British government commissioned research, which clearly linked the London riots of August 2011 with the slashing of youth services in north London; and in a report commissioned by the NYCI entitled the ‘economic value of youth work’. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYfyC4TZp0k
We stand with the Youth Council of Northern Ireland in its call for the Minister to take a longer term strategic view of the importance of the youth work sector, and hope that Mr. O’Dowd will engage fully with us as young people and our sector before publishing his final budget.
Promoting the voice of Young People in the decision making process
As a Youth Led organisation we strive to involve young people directly in the decision making process. As part of our formal response to the DE budget consultation we are inviting young people to join us at a workshop focusing on the proposed cuts this Saturday at NIYF offices, Berry Street, Belfast.
#SaveOurYouthService consultation event:
Saturday 13th December 2014
NIYF Offices, 68 Berry Street, Belfast, BT1 1FJ
12noon – 1.30pm
Refreshments will be provided.
If you can not attend this event and would like to have your say please contact firstname.lastname@example.org