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How to foster active citizenship;Letter

IT MAY indeed be possible that "turmoil and fragmentation" lie in store for the Youth Service ("Service still wants to come in from the cold", TES, October 1), but there is great opportunity in government plans too.

A youth support service with a narrow focus on information and guidance on education, work and training could pick off some of the best youth work practice, weaken the remainder of the existing service and fail to deliver the Government's objectives for young people.

But we also have a vision of a comprehensive service that promotes a wider-ranging notion of youth development and support. This system would be firmly based on the values and approaches stressed by youth work. It would cement and extend the partnerships between professions and with the voluntary sector that are already in place.

Such a system should be backed with secure and sufficient funding, clear statutory duties and powers for various parties, including local authorities, and have the active involvement of young people in its governance and delivery.

In which case, it might prove a major step forward in tackling exclusion and fostering active citizenship.

Anthony Lawton

Director of policy and programmes

National Youth Agency

17-23 Albion Street, Leicester

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