Fake youth projects

The editor of this site had a meeting the other day with the manager of a Youth Project in Oxford (Rose Hill youth club). The idea was to discuss the possibility of the editor helping the youth project to run some photography workshops over the Summer.

The meeting/interview lasted about 30 minutes. 20 minutes was taken up with explaining how, in order to get Lottery funding it was necessary to produce measurable outcomes on projects. In practice it turned out that this means that all participants on the project would have to get a Certificate. The project would have to be structured in such a way as to “tick the boxes” for the Certificate. Because (it seemed) most of the young people taking part in the youth club were unlikely to be suitable for such a project a few would be “carefully selected” to take part. The last project run along similar lines was, apparently, a big success. The young people (also “carefully selected”) made a video. The showing was attended by the young people who made the video their siblings and two parents.

It is clear that the aim of the proposed project is 100% to meet the requirements of the Big Lottery funding. The project is not being built by and for young people. Anyone who knows anything about youth work – a democratic practice which is about meeting young people on their own terms and enabling them to develop by having as much input as possible into their youth club and any activities – will realise that this is a mockery of youth work. It is not exactly corruption – but everyones’ needs but the young peoples’ are being considered.

The other 10 minutes of the interview covered the contortions the project has to go through to meet the Safeguarding requirements. For example; the project has its own set of iPhones so that staff never use their own phone for work in  case they share their details with a young person. (Why not just hire staff you can trust not to abuse children in the first place?)

Needless to say the project hasn’t called back!



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