Youth in revolt ask Haringey councillors to protect services for teenagers

Haringey Independent: Councillor Lorna Reith, Haringey Council children's boss, and Tottenham MP David Lammy during Labour's election campaign Councillor Lorna Reith, Haringey Council children's boss, and Tottenham MP David Lammy during Labour's election campaign

ANXIOUS young people fighting a spirited campaign to protect Haringey's youth services will find out tonight if a 75 per cent cut proposed by council bosses is granted.

Hundreds of young people are staging a protest outside Haringey Civic Centre - dubbed Grand Theft Youth - in a final plea to councillors to vote against the slash at a budget-setting meeting.

It comes in the same week Haringey was named as having one of the highest numbers of children living in severe child poverty.

According to the report from Save The Children, 22 per cent of under-16s not being able to afford school trips, hobbies causing their social development and education to fall short.

Save Haringey Youth Centres, originally set up by young people in October 2010 in response to a string of closures, said the centres kept them off the streets where they are at risk of getting involved in gang culture.

In a survey, teenagers said youth workers, many of whom are facing redundancy, were their first port of call for advice on sexual health, work, homework, family problems and had given them the opportunities in volunteering, sport and gaining Duke of Edinburgh qualifications.

Campaigner Matt Green, 18, said: "We understand the labour council are under pressure to make cuts, but to target the vulnerable, young and old is an outrageous way to make a political point to the Government that their Big Society wont work.

"We are being used as political pawns, in an era where teen gun and knife crime is high in the borough it is a neglectful game to play and will put our lives in danger."

The young people have blasted the council for pledging to increase youth provision in their election manifesto.

Some of Haringey's brightest stars including Premiership footballer Nile Ranger, 19, and Adam Jogee, 18, now chairman of the Hornsey Labour party, both started their careers through the youth service.

Pledging his support to the campaign, Mr Jogee said: "Whilst the Toes and Liberals in Westminster sabotage and destroy our public services, we here in Labour Haringey can’t follow their misguided example.

"We need to be investing in our young people, they are the future and 75 per cent cuts to our youth series is not the way forward."

The cuts to the youth service will be £1.5m in 2011/12 and a further £392,000 the year after.

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