Anthem for socially-included youth

Youth leaders will embark next week on a tour of the party conferences to push an ambitious eight-point blueprint for Britain's youth services.

Invest in Futures has been drawn up as "a blueprint for social inclusion" by the National Youth Agency which hopes it will be adopted by national and local politicians, local authority workers and voluntary organisations.

The NYA is to host fringe meetings at all three party conferences to get the agenda adopted nationally.

The document sets out the NYA vision of a network of youth services which addresses all of young people's needs and draws them more fully into society.

It covers eight areas and lists 50 action points, from education and employment to health and housing - but also includes a framework for developing effective youth services both nationally and locally.

NYA chief executive Tom Wylie said the document reflected the diversity of youth services across the country.

"This is what a modern youth policy should look like," Mr Wylie said. "So far we have seen a range of initiatives from the new Government, many of them intrinsically good. But we don't yet get a sense of a co-ordinated youth policy nationally or locally."

The Government has recognised that youth services often have the greatest capacity to reach young people who have dropped out of the mainstream. Youth workers can play a key part in initiatives such as Welfare to Work.

Proposals for action include: * better co-ordinated housing services and the provision of Foyer projects offering interim accommodation for the under-25s; * locally-agreed Youth Pledges in which youth services guarantee a range of provision including accessible, well-equipped meeting places, comprehensive information services and a voice in the development of youth services; * coaching in sports, arts and information technology for the most disadvantaged communities; * action to improve health -restrictions on alcopops, improved safety in nightclubs and treatment not custody for drug-abusers.

Invest in Futures - a blueprint for young people's social inclusion is available from the National Youth Agency, 17-23 Albion Street, Leicester LE1 6GD. Single copies cost 50p to cover postage. Bulk orders of 50 are priced Pounds 12.50.

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