Youth Community Support Agency (YCSA) is the only Black and Minority Ethnic led youthwork organisation that works with BME young people, including asylum seekers, from across Glasgow City. A Scottish Charity it has been working to support BME young people for over 25 years, helping thousands of young people over that time.
As a BME led organisation it is able to provide a range of faith and culturally appropriate services that support young people, and their families, that other agencies are unable to reach. BME young people from a wide range of backgrounds, who do not engage with mainstream services feel safe, comfortable and supported at YCSA.
YCSA’s bid to the new Glasgow Communities Fund was to continue work with young people aged 15-24 to provide a range of services including Counselling in schools and the community, practical advice, help and referrals, employability support, development work including creative arts and sports, ESOL, volunteer support and work to encourage civic engagement and to encourage BME young people to have their voices heard and achieve their dreams.
This work, formerly funded by Glasgow City Council, has not been recommended for any future funding, as a result of which these services will have to terminate and the future sustainability of YCSA will be in doubt. This will create a huge gap in support for BME young people as no-one else provides this range of services for this age group.
This is devastating news for YCSA and the young people it works with, especially at this time given that it is widely recognised that BME young people have been particularly impacted by the COVID19 lockdown. While BME unemployment is already significantly higher than the overall population, in any downturn the gap grows, and with the COVID downturn this is hitting BME young people’s life chances.
Examples of young people we have supported recently include:
- asylum seekers who were moved into hotels during lockdown and were caught up in the Park Inn stabbing incident – practical help and counselling has been provided;
- young people Not in Education, Employment or Training, who lack confidence, do not understand systems and do not feel comfortable or confident initially, have been able to develop confidence and skills and move onto education or employment;
- those with limited English have been able to engage in innovative ways to improve their language skills while also making new friends and developing other soft employability skills;
- homeless young people have been supported though their trauma and guided to appropriate support services.
This decision seems particularly ironic in the light of the recognition of the impact of racism highlighted by the Black Lives Matter campaign.
YCSA urges the Council to reconsider before the decision is taken at the meeting on Thursday, and asks that funding is made available to be able to provide these valuable services.