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SERVICES FOR TEENAGERS ARE PATCHY AND UNRELIABLE

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Teenagers are being let down by inconsistent and unreliable services according to the Institute for Public Policy R...
Teenagers are being let down by inconsistent and unreliable services according to the Institute for Public Policy Research which today publishes the results of a consultation with young people about activities and support available in their community.

IPPR says its work with young people - in an area which has had additional investment - shows a need for more co-ordination across services and a need to rethink the professional skills of those working with teenagers. The report recommends a 'Sure Progress' initiative to mirror Sure Start and concludes that Connexions, set up to provide a rounded service to young people, is too focussed on education and work rather than social and emotional support.

Laura Edwards, senior research fellow, IPPR said: 'The government's focus on the early years is welcome but needs to be balanced with improvements in support for teenagers. On the ground services are still falling short and failing to meet the expectations of both young people and communities.

'We need new types of professionals who can work with teenagers to provide activities and support over a period of time. They need to be people who have more than one 'tool' in the bag. A new profession might combine the skills of youth and social work, mental health and careers services.'

Recommendations include:

- A 'Sure Progress' programme to echo the Sure Start model to provide consistent and effective support, intervention and activities for teens.

- A national audit of the quality and number of youth clubs and centres available for teenagers and a commitment to developing new, modern youth clubs, which combine activity with support and advice.

- More focus on involving young people in shaping services and activities within their communities. There is a need to develop roles for young people as managers, advisers, governors, auditors, fundraisers and volunteers in community level services.

Notes:

Passing Time is based on a project con ducted by the IPPR in Tile Hill in Coventry. The project involved working with young people at a neighbourhood level over a month in Summer 2003. ippr and a local youth arts project worked with young people to help them articulate the issues they faced and what they wanted to see change in their community. The output of the project is a 12-minute film made by young people, Tile Hill Uncovered, in which young people tell their story in their own words. The report accompanies the film and gives a flavour of the issues, concerns and ideas that young people came up with for their community. It then looks at national policy through the eyes of the young residents of Tile Hill.

This work forms part of ippr's communities programme and was funded by the Gatsby Charitable Foundation.

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