Think piece on Youth Work in response to recent News
How Youth Work is a Vital Part of the Solution to ASB in Didcot- written by Aimie Molyneux, TRAIN’s Youth Work Placement Volunteer
London has witnessed a complex epidemic in the form of rising rates of knife crimes propagated by young people. Numerous influences can be found behind why it is young people that are committing these crimes. Several varying factors behind this are: poverty, lack of opportunities and motivation, the overcapacity and underfunding of the educational system, reduction in police on the streets and drugs. One of the most startling issues, and one of the most consistent explanations that arises when discussing why young people turn to violence, is poverty and absentee parents.
Poverty within community’s means there is less direction and opportunities for young people, whilst having no parental supervision means they are able to engage in antisocial behaviour with minimal observation. The educational system struggles to deal with antisocial issues due to overcapacity and underfunding.
One part of the possible solution to this continued issue is youth workers and social action through charities. Youth workers are able to build long- lasting supportive relationships with young people, in a way that schools and the police cannot. Charities like Didcot Train are created with the idea of providing opportunities for young people whilst mentoring and counselling them, so as to make sure they feel supported and listened to. Didcot Train uses activities like Detached, mentoring and positive activities to build confidence and instil important life lessons. Informal education on essential topics is given by Didcot Train in order to teach young people how to support one another and what other organisations they can contact in a crisis. The education also extends to sessions on alcohol and drugs to make sure they understand the issues surrounding them. Giving young people this knowledge means they understand the danger surrounding them, and this may influence their decisions later.
Youth workers creating a safe space means young people who are vulnerable and susceptible to peer pressure and violence can have people to turn to, and learn the valuable emotional tools needed to deal with tough situations. The detached youth work that Didcot Train are involved with is also important in maintaining antisocial behaviour and violence as it targets hard to reach youths that may not think to reach out and reminds them they have options available to them. Whilst there are no quick and easy answers in stopping these spates of violence, youth workers, the relationships they build and the education they provide to young people can be utilised in a positive way to move forward.
Didcot Train will continue to deliver positive experiences and informal education for young people, whilst utilising detached to reach out to young people that may not be reaching out themselves. At the same time, they are making sure young people are involved in constructive experiences and opportunities that can motivate them for the future.