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Recorder letters: National Youth Service, together after terrorism and go walking

PUBLISHED: 12:00 24 March 2019

Young people from Newham and Barking and Dagenham join a Mash Up event by Community Links. Picture: ISABELLA INFANTES.

Young people from Newham and Barking and Dagenham join a Mash Up event by Community Links. Picture: ISABELLA INFANTES.

Isabel Infantes

Letters, contributions and comments sent in from Recorder readers this week.

We must invest in comprehensive youth services

Kevin Jenkins, co-founder, life-president Community Links, writes:

The increasing recognition of the need for a statutory National Youth Service is welcome, albeit long overdue.

The new found recognition must lead to new investment now, if the damage that under investment in the pre-austerity years and the swathing cuts in an already inadequate service during austerity have done, is to be halted and gradually repaired.

The recognition by both the London and Newham mayors of the importance of youth services and actually putting resources into youth service must be welcomed and applauded.

My concern is the focus on youth services rather than a young peoples service.

Traditionally youth services tendered to cater for 12-year-olds up to the late teens, while play services tended to offer clubs for the under 11s – often reflecting the change from primary and secondary education.

Play services have virtually become extinct over the last 10 years, being seen as a non-statutory luxury rather than a valuable early intervention service for young people – offering through play, personal, social and educational development opportunities – which they have been proven to be.

As the play services have declined, the ages when young people are experiencing negative influences, distractions and in many situations serious risk and danger are well evidenced as to be getting younger and younger.

More and more the vital interventions, support and personal resilience building opportunities provided by youth services, enhancing the work of schools and colleges in two, three or more years too late for many young people.

We need to invest in a truly comprehensive universal statutory young peoples service.

It must complement the education and young peoples health services, responding to the needs of young people as they are needed rather than responding to such needs within preconceived age bands, which are often meaningless to the young people themselves. Central, regional and local government need to act together to make the difference that is so desperately needed.

• For more information about Community Links, to make a donation or to help the charity in any other way visit community-links.org

Stand together after terrorism

Cllr Zulfiqar Ali, chairman, Alliance of Muslims Associations in Newham, writes:

The terrorist attack on mosques in Christchurch during Friday prayers has shocked the whole world.

The Muslim community in Newham condemn this action by far right in the strongest possible terms. Whatever the motives, there is no justification to take innocent lives.

It shows terrorists have no religion, they have no values and are cowards and callous.

The way this attack was planned and shown to the whole world shows it was well planned and is deplorable.

Our prayers, sympathies and support is with the families of those who lost their loved ones.

We pray for the speedy and healthy recovery of the many who have sustained injuries.

Newham is a place for all and our diverse nature is our strengths.

Since the attack, we have received many messages of support from our friends from other communities and faith leaders, sharing our grief and offering support along with the support from local police and council.

There have been extra prayers in mosques and vigils being held by our multi-faith communities.

Social media is spreading such evil.

It is about time, the government introduces tighter controls to stop live streaming and promotion of such sickening acts of terror and violence.

Walking vital for our health

Tompion Platt, director of advocacy and engagement, The Ramblers, writes:

At the Ramblers, we not only love a good walk in the countryside, we believe it’s vital that the places that we all live are great for walking too.

Making it easy to walk everyday local journeys not only helps us live more active, healthier lives, it could also help to tackle some of society’s biggest problems like growing levels of obesity, social isolation, congestion and air pollution.

With our Britain’s Best Walking Neighbourhood Award, we are searching for the places that put pedestrians first and make every day walking a joy for the whole community, with safe, accessible routes to shops and services and well cared for parks and green spaces.

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