YMCA highlight the impacts of spending cuts on young people
By changing the narrative to focus on the children who each and everyday go without because of budget cuts, this campaign delivers a new urgency to an issue which has been ignored for too long.
Deputy Editor, BITE
YMCA launches ‘This is Not a Safe Space’ - a campaign by Nice and Serious - to highlight the devastating effects government funding cuts to youth services have on young people today. The campaign has already attracted over 18,000 signatures.
Spending on youth services in England and Wales decreased by 70% over the last decade, resulting in the disappearance of hundreds of youth centres and thousands of youth worker jobs. This isn’t only impacting those employed by the services, but is having a serious effect on the significant numbers of young people denied access to these centres.
The question for these young people, and their carers is where do you play when the only area available to you is a roadside? Who do you play with if there’s no one around? Who do you turn to for advice if the hours between the end of school and dinner loom ominously empty?
In the wake of this challenge comes the ‘This is Not A Safe Space’ campaign, which has been created by Nice and Serious for the YMCA in order to put pressure on the government to restore youth services to the levels they were at in 2010. The films highlight the effects these cuts have had on children around the country.
The campaign emphasises the right that children have to these services, right now. It eschews the typical message of youth services campaigns, which have historically focused on the positive effects they can have for the individual or society at large. By focusing instead on the here and now, on the reality that so many children are living in, the message hits home.
The creative highlights the stark reality that, despite the youth services disappearing, the need for them hasn’t; children still need a place to play, to learn and to feel safe. The children in the campaign adapt their dark, gritty surroundings to be imitations of what they’re both looking for and needing, from a hopscotch grid to a football team, time with mates or career advice. The children’s desires are placed in contrast to the danger of their day to day lived experience, from playing near a busy road to a lack of real mentorship.
A campaign such as this takes a different approach to an long spoken about subject. By changing the narrative to focus on the children who each and everyday go without because of budget cuts, this campaign delivers a new urgency to an issue which has been ignored for too long.