Youth Gangs in an English City

A research team, led by Dr Judith Aldridge at the University of Manchester, has found evidence which directly contradicts the core assumptions of government policy on gang and knife crime. Based on two years’ work with members of six gangs in an English city, the research finds that in reality, gangs are loose, messy, changing friendship networks – less organised and criminally active than widely believed – with shifting and unstable leadership. The guardian has published podcast interview online with the researcher. here

“A Letter to a Young Activist” by Thomas Merton

Dear Jim,

Do not depend on the hope of results. When you are doing the sort of work you have taken on, essentially an apostolic work, you may have to face the fact that your work will be apparently worthless and even achieve no result at all, if not perhaps results opposite to what you expect. As you get used to this idea, you start more and more to concentrate not on the results but on the value, the rightness, the truth of the work itself. And there too a great deal has to be gone through as gradually you struggle less and less for an idea and more and more for specific people. The range tends to narrow down, but it gets much more real. In the end, it is the reality of personal relationships that saves everything…

…The big results are not in your hands or mine, but they suddenly happen, and we can share in them; but there is no point in building our lives on this personal satisfaction, which may be denied us and which after all is not that important.

The next step in the process is for you to see that your own thinking about what you are doing is crucially important. You are probably striving to build yourself an identity in your work, out of your work and your witness. You are using it, so to speak, to protect yourself against nothingness, annihilation. That is not the right use of your work. All the good that you will do will come not from you but from the fact that you have allowed yourself, in the obedience of faith, to be used by God’s love. Think of this more and gradually you will be free from the need to prove yourself, and you can be more open to the power that will work through you without your knowing it.

The great thing after all is to live, not to pour out your life in the service of a myth: and we turn the best things into myths. If you can get free from the domination of causes and just serve Christ’s truth, you will be able to do more and will be less crushed by the inevitable disappointments. Because I see nothing whatever in sight but much disappointment, frustration and confusion…

The real hope, then, is not in something we think we can do but in God who is making something good out of it in some way we cannot see. If we can do God’s will, we will be helping in this process. But we will not necessarily know all about it before hand…

Enough of this… it is at least a gesture… I will keep you in my prayers.

All the best, in Christ,


The scope of the voluntary youth work sector

The children and young people’s voluntary and community sector employs one in three of the total voluntary and community sector workforce and generates income in excess of £1.5 billion a year, according to new research published today by NCVYS and the National Council of Voluntary Child Care Organisations (NCVCCO).

Every Organisation Matters is the first ever mapping of the children and young people’s voluntary and community sectors and was undertaken by a team from the University of Hull led by Professor Gary Craig as part of NCVYS and NCVCCO’s Speaking Out project.

Speaking at today’s launch Deputy Director of Strategy and Communications at the Office of the Third Sector, Juliet Mountford called the research ‘ground breaking’ and thanked the partners for providing an ‘excellent piece of research’. She also announced that Birmingham University will lead the new Third Sector Research Centre dedicated to analysing the impact of the sector’s activities.

Janet Moore, Third Sector Team Leader at the Department for Children, Schools and Families also commended the work and expressed the government’s commitment to taking on board the research findings, to shape future thinking and policy making.

Amongst the report’s key findings are:

The children and young people’s voluntary and community sector employs over 160,000 people in England – as many as 1 in 3 of all those employed by voluntary and community organisations – and generates income in excess of £1.5 billion a year.
Small organisations, many of whom work with highly vulnerable children and young people, are under threat because of the government’s shift towards commissioning services.
Children aged 7-13 appear to be poorly provided for, with an emphasis on early years provision and a growing government agenda around services for young people leading to this transitional age group missing out.
Effective understanding of the children and young people’s voluntary and community sector is currently hindered by poor quality data.
Voluntary and community sector organisations need to be doing more to measure the long-term impact of their work.

The report calls on the government to invest in further research to better understand the changing nature of the children and young people’s voluntary and community sector, to prioritise support for small organisations who often work with those most in need and to provide sustained investment in workforce development.

The research team and representatives from the voluntary sector who attended the launch emphasised the importance of ‘valuing what is valuable above valuing what is measurable’.

For more information and to access the full report go here 100 Tears the movie Code Name: The Cleaner full

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Info via CHYPPS and NCVYS

Gordon Brown backs skate parks

Gordon Brown is aware of the need for youth facilities in promoting comuunity cohesion and particularly mentions skate parks State of Play buy Click movie download

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Highwaymen movie . on the whole this is good news but it still begs the question why do communities usually put them right on the edge of town when most young people dont have transport. Having just taught on community cohesion is worth noting that the government use the word community to conjour up fluffy feelings associated but the reality of funding long term workers to help build communities that reflect the warmth of the word, still remains a long way away.The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift movie