Yesterday I was hit with the news that Live Mag UK would be ending at Christmas, after 15 years spent providing young people with journalistic skills, and the ability to use their voice to speak out about culture, current affairs and issues that were important to them.
Not a whole lot of avenues like this are available to young people, especially as they cater to any individual between the age of 12-25 who wants to get involved in presenting, film-making, photography and of course, writing (as well as other creative avenues). There is no elitism at Live and there was no one excluded because they didn’t have a higher level of skill.
Like many others, I was upset and frustrated when I heard the news, because here was a very special service for young people biting the dust. Live provided you with experience without all the toils of having to apply for, and eventually find, work experience. And most of all, it gave young people a voice on a huge platform that they most likely would have been unable to have.
Why has this happened though? Just like so many deceased and declining services, Live Mag UK is coming to an end because of that necessary but debilitating thing called money. There is simply not enough money to fund it anymore and because the government continues to cut funding to youth services, Livity (the company that owns Live) needs to find a way to earn money and boost funds while continuing to help as many young people as possible.
Why does the government seem to hate young people so much? I mean, they can’t have any real love for us if they are constantly making cuts to services for young people and implementing laws or making changes that are extremely detrimental to us. It has been reported that funding for 2,300 children’s centres alone have been cut in England this year, which will mean reduced services and possibly closures for some. How is this effective or fair?
Too many youth clubs, youth centres and the like have been forced to shut down, mainly due to the lack of available funds, a lot of which comes from the government. In a lot of cases, these are effectively helping disadvantaged or “troubled” young people, particularly those who are dealing with mental health, disabilities or are caught up in the “street life”.
More money needs to be put into youth services, but youth services also need to start looking into more ways to generate income themselves, in order for them to do all they can to help these young people and make the greatest impact possible. However, more young people also need to be allowed to really use their voice, allowing them express and explain what it is they need.
Too often, what is best for the young people in question is not considered by those in power, who are usually older individuals that do not always have an understanding of the young people they are working with and/or targeting. Their wants and needs are skirted over or ignored for something else entirely, which can be incredibly annoying and ineffective.
Although other initiatives will be stepping up in its place, the needs and wants for most of the young people involved with Live Mag UK are coming to an end. The new initiatives will be heading in a different direction, changing the dynamics of something that was so special, unique and beneficial to a whole lot of young people, particularly those from an urban background.
You see, Live Mag UK is more than just a magazine and online platform that enables young people to develop journalism skills. It is a collective of people that have created a warm and comfortable environment where young people can come together, be themselves, build up a network and most of all, speak their minds.
Looking back over the year, Live Mag UK has done so much for me, especially in being able to write stories relating to the American sports I love, which is an opportunity that is not highly available to me. It’s heartbreaking to see it coming to an end.