The Verse’s Chanelle Manton joined hundreds of people, young and old, to protest austerity cuts to youth services, in a march around Brighton on the 28th January 2017.
On the 28th January 2017, three-hundred people of all ages marched from the Old Steine to Brighton Train Station, placards and banners held with pride, in an attempt to prevent the proposed £1.35 million worth of cuts to vital, preventative youth services in Brighton and Hove. As part of the wider £51 million due to be slashed from the council budget, such decreases in funding will affect both open-access and equalities youth work, such as LGBT and those with disabilities, as well as youth substance abuse and sexual health services available in the city.
Numerous groups were present to show their support, including Sussex Defend the NHS, Brighton and Hove’s Green Party, and Brighton’s Expression Session Chalktivist Divison, who decorated the pavement with messages of inspiration.
Pre-Qual, a youth-led pro-equality movement in Brighton, were also present at the march and have attended council meetings regularly to present questions to the local council, regarding the motivation behind such budget reductions. On their blog, the group outline the situation comprehensibly and claim:
‘these cuts will endanger the most vulnerable people in our society, from teenagers and young adults trying to avoid the seductions of gangs and drugs, to disabled children and adults, those living in council maintained buildings, and those 1,800 children in our community who live in temporary accommodation without a home to call their own. Brighton and Hove can’t take these cuts, and we shouldn’t have to.’
“The march allowed young people to express their thoughts and feelings about the proposed cuts to their services in a way that is meaningful to them. It gave them a voice that they deserve.”
Kate Barker, who works with young people at Impact Initiatives, passionately headed the event, reflecting on the success of the day.
The march drew to a close with some excellent young performers, including rappers, guitar-players and singers. Although a wet and windy day, the spirit and passion of those marching was not dampened and the resolve of the community brought hope and optimism to an uncertain future for Brighton’s youth services.
To find out more information on these initiatives and the council budget check out these links:
Brighton Expression Sessions: https://www.facebook.com/expressionsessionsBTON/?fref=ts
Protect Our Youth Services! Petition: https://www.change.org/p/youth-workers-don-t-cut-the-youth-services-funding
Information on the council budget: http://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/council-and-democracy/council-finance/setting-council-budget-201718