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A campaign that highlights the devastating cuts to youth services

YMCA | This is Not a Safe Space

Problem

Spending on youth services in England and Wales decreased by 70% during the last decade — meaning thousands of youth work jobs and hundreds of youth centres have disappeared. 

YMCA asked us to create a major integrated campaign to highlight these devastating cuts, putting pressure on the government to restore youth services funding back to 2010 levels.

Solution

Campaigns for youth services often make their case by sharing the experiences of previous generations, who benefited from youth centres and workers. And when they’re not looking backwards, they tend to focus on the future — championing benefits around employability, crime rates and society. 

This approach fails to acknowledge that young people have a right to services which they value in the here and now. And considering the stark nature of the cuts, our strategy was to bring the urgency of the present day situation into focus — showing that despite youth services disappearing, the need for them never did.

Our campaign dramatises the bleak scenarios young people can now find themselves in due to the lack of youth funding. The scenes were shot in gritty locations with low light to emphasise danger and isolation. The resulting visuals are paired with provocative, straight-talking headlines that point out the lack of safe spaces, friendships and mentors – due to the massive cuts to youth services over the last 10 years.

Our campaign dramatises the bleak scenarios young people might now find themselves in due to the lack of youth funding, and creates a reflection of what the scene should really be – as the young people reimagine what it should provide them.

Peter Larkin - Creative Director

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