'A risk in time saves crime' was a presentation to parliament by Campaign for Adventure which explained the need by young people to take risks. Young people need to take risks. Failure to offer young people the right risks will ensure they find their own – usually antisocial, self harmful or illegal – or all of these.
The right risks are developmental – in the arts, sport, community, education and so on – but they must be fit for purpose. To offer a slight risk to an experienced risk-experienced such as a child from a broken home, a gang-land teenager or a drug-experienced youth will not be experienced as a risk but as an insult to their credibility. A real risk in these circumstances must challenge their achievement level, their comfort-zone, their esteem. In such cases appropriate legal risks might be standing on stage, jumping out of a plane or experiencing advanced survival in desert, arctic or jungle. Lack of this offer and we can presume they will become involved in violence, drugs, self-harm or community-destroying crime.
The job of youth is to challenge, to prove oneself and to test one's surroundings for places to exist with esteem. What do we offer by default if we do not provide accessible and satisfying challenges? Joblessness, poverty, boredom, young motherhood/fatherhood?
Yes we are speaking of a minority. yes many miss all this and retain school-links, are influenced by good parents and become wonderful young people making a great contribution. But it is the others that are disproportionately damaging to our society.
And how will cuts affect this work done with these young people? Well the funding which goes to the acceptable face of work will be saved and that which is for the unacceptable will be lost – withdrawn. Partly because it is easier and partly because it can be expensive and partly because to remove it means the problem will really stick out and maybe allow more funding to be found because it has to be when our young people who need help most riot.