Methodist response to Youth Matters Green Paper

The Methodist Church has filed a detailed response to theGovernment's Youth Matters Green Paper. The Church welcomes theconsultation but is concerned that Youth Matters does not paysufficient attention to the spirituality of young people, and doesnot address concerns about alienation, rural isolation and thespecific needs of people from minority ethnic groups or withdisabilities.

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

MAYC used a video diary room at national events in July, August andSeptember 2005 to allow young people to record their hopes andconcerns. Among the issues that troubled them most were familysituations, being alone, bullying, friendship, exam pressures andcrime. MAYC staff report that the young people they work with arealso very concerned about spiritual development, health, familybreakdown, multicultural issues, poverty and education.

The Methodist Church operates a wide variety of schemes workingwith children and young people, and the response to Youth Mattersdraws on the full range of this experience. 'We welcome someaspects of this green paper,' said Mike Seaton, 'but feel it doesnot go into sufficient detail in some areas. We want to emphasisethe role that the voluntary sector has to play in this area,including Christian organisations.'