How will the closing down of Youth Centres effect the next generations’ creativity?

21 Sep

Due to the government spending cuts Youth Centres have been closing across the country. This is because local councils are no longer getting the funds to pay for these centres.

This action concerns me since Youth Centres are a key place where young people feel able to express themselves. Closing them could result in a lapse in artistic expression within the generation(s) affected. I believe this is integral to their emotional well-being.

Young people need to have an outlet to express themselves and discover who they are away from the regimes and expectations placed on them. Youth Centres provide this safe and free environment for expression (often outletted by creativity), where young people are made to feel like they matter and have a voice. Sadly, it is often the case that at home and school that they are not given this chance for self-expression.

We are already seeing what an impact ‘feeling voiceless’ is having on our youth: campaigns and marches (some with violence), looting of shops and an increase in vandalism. How much safer it would be for all, if this was all expressed by pen and paper or by a theatrical performance! I think we are truly going to see in this generation how important the creative arts are; (and how they are worthy of funding – Mr Cameron)!

This generation is in strong danger of being without any strong creative outlet at all. Schools, although they teach Art, Drama and sometimes Dance, do not promote creative thinking. We are taught instead to value facts and tried-and-tested methods over unconventionality, but how else can a person be creative without first being told  in is OK to think for themselves? Art always involves stepping out of the box and examining what you see inside, and Youth Centres provide this ‘out of the box’ space. A place where youth can think for themselves. I highly suspect that there will be a decrease in art created by those under 20, due to these centres closing.

I would like to now make a point about creative expression as linked to mental well-being, using the following senario…

Dionne is 15 and has difficulties at home. She is a young carer for her  brother who has autism and finds it hard to relate to her new step father. Dionne tells me that she loves to dance! She tells me that it is her form of escapism from home and school life, and she goes to practice at the Youth Centre, where she feels welcome.

Dionne’s Youth Centre is closing down. When it re-opens it will become a referral centre for young people who are deemed anti-social. When this happens, who is to say if Dionne will be able to find another safe space to live out her passion? If her creative outlet is gone, her mental wellbeing could be effected since self-expression in her own home is secondary to her caring role.

in conclusion, the closing down of Youth Centres is likely to mean the following:

  • Reduced art production by young people
  • Further Anti-social behaviors from young people as already seen in the news
  • Further campaigns from young people due to their sence of not having a voice
  • A stunt in the development of creative/visionary thinking in future generations

So, remind me again why the government is cutting their funding?

Please leave your opinions,

Jo 🙂


3 Responses to “How will the closing down of Youth Centres effect the next generations’ creativity?”

  1. Timothy Brown October 28, 2011 at 9:00 am #

    My opinions are formed from the base of being a trained youth playleader some thirty years ago. It is unproven that there is a detrimental effect on the arts when government projects are closed, some suggest the the best arts are born of need and nurtured in austerity and deprivation – Soul music, country music some of the African dance troupes have come from harsh environments with out government funding.
    However, the talent that develops from the situations above is the most determined and talented and extrodinary and very very few in number.
    For wider benefit to society and opportunities for a wider band of young people it is a nescesity that society values the development of young people. Funding youth centres and all centres that help form the adults of tomorrow into useful caring productive members of society is a benifit to all. One of the benifits is to turn back the tide of despair and teach people the delights of the arts in a passive role or a participatory role or a support role. The broader the education the better and happier the society to live in . Cut s could be made in many areas mostly at the mediocre top 20% off society – cut subsidies to private education cut subsidies to private health care cut subsidies to high income earners but fund the youth programmes . Because it makes economic and social stability sense. I agree with the blogger.

  2. Catherine Rose November 7, 2011 at 4:33 pm #

    Hi Lindsey. You are right to highlight this very important issue. I don’t think enough is known about the creative work done in youth centres all over the country. There is no central information about it and perhaps the scale of it and the importance of its impact are overlooked.

    Have a look at the work by the Cultural Learning Alliance – – they have just brought together a lot of information about the importance of cultural learning, but even they may not be aware of the opportunities in what you might call informal settings. It might be worth contacting them to find out.

    Good luck with your project.

  3. Anoop (@_Innersmile) November 8, 2011 at 11:33 am #

    Yes I totally agree. I run a design agency specialising in youth communications, we have re-furbished 14 youth centre and have seen a 600% increase in attendance and a significant reduction in anti-social behaviour. We consulted all the young people and got them involved. It’s such a shame that young people will no where they can call there own place to chill and hang out. Here is the centre we have done.


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