A bigger role for communities in inspiring young people

8 Apr 2009 by Karl Hallam

The Department for Communities and Local Government have announced a new initiative aimed at giving a bigger role for communities in inspiring young people. It is a response to the joint Social Exclusion Taskforce/Communities and Local Government/DCSF short study into the 'aspirations and attainment of young people in deprived communities' published in December 2008.

The gist of it is that young people in deprived communities have low aspirations and that those communities have to take some responsibility in raising them. There is some sense in the idea that this is the sort of thing that should be tackled at a community level. Hazel Blears says in the press release:

'Sometimes a young person can't get the breaks they deserve or don't have a sense of what's out there for them because the people around them fail to see their potential. We need to turn this around. The communities where young people live should not hold them back; they should be the source of inspiration and practical support that will help them to achieve. This programme is about getting all the people in communities who want the very best for their children and for their area to work together to make the difference'.

Up to 15 neighbourhoods (comprising between 5,000 and 10,000 residents) will receive up to £450,000 and expert help over 2 years to design and deliver projects and activities that they say will:

At a recent ippr North roundtable in the North East Alissa Goodman (IFS) and Professor Alan Dyson (U of Manchester) presented some interesting thoughts on aspiration in reference to low educational attainment post-16. Their thoughts and the roundtable discussion were that low aspiration should not be addressed through policies to increase aspiration. That does not mean this DCLG initiative is a bad idea, but some might say that reducing the number of communities that qualify for this kind of funding (Only deprived neighbourhoods within 64 local authorities will be eligible to apply for funding) might be a more desirable approach to inspiring young people.







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