Co-founder & senior advisor Community Links Kevin Jenkins criticises the cut in young people’s summer programmes


- Credit: Archant

It has been great to read the coverage by the Recorder to the achievements of Newham young people over the past months. Far too often the only time you see young people featured in the press is in a negative context. I applaud the Recorder for the proactive stance taken.

I have always believed that Newham young people have a wealth of talent and skills which enable them to compete and achieve with the best if they are given the opportunity to do so.

The Jack Petchey Awards (featured in the paper recently) have given so many young people the opportunity to achieve recognition for their hard work, often in difficult circumstances, and use their award as a platform to develop further and to move on and achieve even more in their chosen fields. The belief in young people that Jack Petchey has shown over so many years now should be applauded.

This weekend more than 100 young people will be involved in staging the Deborah Day Theatre School Trust Award public show at Broadway Theatre, Barking.

They will be showcasing an amazing array of talent across tap, ballet, jazz and musical theatre, creating a show equal, if not better, than many professional companies.

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With so much potential and opportunity among our young people it is sad that the young people’s summer programmes of activities are thinner than last year as a result of the austere times we are still in.

Especially hit this year will be young disabled people who require additional staff support (usually one to one) to enable their participation in activities, as the local government funding source has been stopped and the alternative resources offered will only support around 20 per cent of those who previously benefited from this opportunity. I fear many young people with disabilities will spend their summer stuck indoors.

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Given that so much can be achieved by young people with relatively little call on financial resources, this latest reduction – which will directly affect some of our most isolated and vulnerable young people – is one cut too many. I would respectively urge our decision makers to reconsider reinstating this relatively small amount of funding which has enabled disabled young people to achieve so much.

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