08 November 2005

Methodist response to Youth Matters Green Paper

The Methodist Church has filed a detailed response to the Government's Youth Matters Green Paper. The Church welcomes the consultation but is concerned that Youth Matters does not pay sufficient attention to the spirituality of young people, and does not address concerns about alienation, rural isolation and the specific needs of people from minority ethnic groups or with disabilities.

Mike Seaton, National Secretary of the MAYC (the Youth Work arm of the Methodist Church), said, 'the underpinning principle for young people's services must be a desire to care for their well-being. Services must treat them with respect, and engage them in meaningful projects that prompt ownership and provide the proper levels of participation, support and guidance.'

MAYC used a video diary room at national events in July, August and September 2005 to allow young people to record their hopes and concerns. Among the issues that troubled them most were family situations, being alone, bullying, friendship, exam pressures and crime. MAYC staff report that the young people they work with are also very concerned about spiritual development, health, family breakdown, multicultural issues, poverty and education.

The Methodist Church operates a wide variety of schemes working with children and young people, and the response to Youth Matters draws on the full range of this experience. 'We welcome some aspects of this green paper,' said Mike Seaton, 'but feel it does not go into sufficient detail in some areas. We want to emphasise the role that the voluntary sector has to play in this area, including Christian organisations.'

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