We at Creative Youth Network were saddened to hear from Watershed that they are unlikely to continue funding Rife Magazine in its current form through Bristol City Council’s youth service funding, following news that councillors have voted through plans to cut the budget by £1.2m.
Creative Youth Network, as a local youth charity that helps young people, no matter what their background or circumstances, to reach their own potential, sees the issues Rife is facing as being caused by austerity measures that the whole sector is struggling with.
Rife has been providing great opportunities for young people from diverse backgrounds to get their voices heard, express themselves creatively online and build skills for future employment.
We’ll continue to support Watershed as they look at the future funding model of the magazine. We share in the same ethos as Rife: developing programmes with young people as co-producers is crucial and it’s been proven successful. We follow the same model in our work and we look forward to seeing Rife continue to evolve through innovative partnerships and funding models.
However, the issues Rife is facing point towards the choices austerity is forcing on our councils and citizens. We are challenged to choose what cuts we should make, which vulnerable parts of our communities will not get the help they need, and to choose what we will have to do without.
These choices are false economies. Savings made now often lead to great expenses further down the line, as people’s lives are made more difficult by the lack of help when people need it.
There is a point at which all of society needs to take a collective view on how we support vulnerable people in our society, whether they be young or old. There is a cost to helping people and giving equal opportunity to everyone. Innovative ways of doing this, like Rife Magazine, need to be supported if young people are to get the best start in life.
Sandy Hore-Ruthven is CEO of Creative Youth Network.
Read more opinion: ‘Rife gave me validation that I was doing something right with my life’