Friday, September 16, 2016

Youth Work in the Inner City - a story.

Youth Work in the Inner City - a story. 

Allow your imagination to create a picture as I paint it ......

London's East End - inner city community.
Housing solid tower blocks and maisonettes around a Youth Project I am leading.
A real belonging community.
Poor community but rich in closeness in family life with Grandparents very much included.
Few trees, poor street lighting, lots of petty crime.
A breeding ground for more serious crime.
1980 Thatcher years.
Youth unemployment at 68%.
A pretty new youth club attracting a 100 or so teenagers between 14 - 20's.
Loud music emanating the latest most popular tunes.
About 20 volunteer and professional male and female dedicated staff.

I am standing in front of the silent Juke Box - facing a social, two level, area
packed with noise and feeling.
I say .................

Lenny writes from prison - 
"I'll definitely be staying here behind closed doors, 
no association etc etc. 
It's nothing new, I was in the same situation last Chrisimas in Oxford, 
it does get depressing. 
The governor at Wormwood Scrubs said it all.
'Penal Dustbin", 
that man definitely put his job on the line" 

I am reading that quote out in Senior Club to the kids
during our 'Ten O'clock News' spot.
Once a week, yes at 10pm, we shut down the pinball machine
and the Juke Box and
everyone was encouraged to listen to some news and good news too.
Many know Lennie and it stilled the usual noise and heckling
as I continued - to say 
"I have received "two letters today and I -wanted to read another to you. "

I read  
"We're glad you like our show. 
One day we would like to see you here to the TV studio . . . 
Happy custard pies to you from all of us - The TIZWAZ Team" 
It even had a little note on the bottom from the 'Phantom Flan Flinger' 
Yes: a letter from the most famous and very current TIZWAZ TV programme back in the day!!
(Do you remember that? - that's when TV Saturday mornings were FUN
For the people who don't know such historic academic information - 
TIZWAZ was the BIG Saturday morning children's live slapstick programme 
that was really madly outlandish and unpredictable fun - I loved it! )
The kids listened intently 
'A letter from TIZWAZ  popular TV programmeI and one from prison!
They loved it ............
Why communicate the two? 
i)   About being banged up in cell for 23 hours on Christmas Day
ii)   AND total fun TV.