Q&A: Skinnyman speaks about negative effect of cut-backs on youth clubs


What is the biggest problem facing Islington’s young people today?

We’ve seen all cut-backs on art funding for youth centres and youth clubs and anything that may facilitate the youths outside of curriculum activity events, which means that all youth workers that have great skills have become unemployed.

Are street dance, MC battles and twerking a positive form of expression?

If we look at people who do graffiti, they can sometimes be regarded as vandals. Within urban lower working class environments there is no facilitation for children to explore their artistic nature or to express it. Children who feel that they have artistic drive often find themselves expressing it with a spray can on the wall because it’s the only paint brush and canvas that they’re given.

Why are crime rates in Islington among young people so high?

It’s a direct result of lack of opportunities in the area. It’s an immediate problem for Islington but it’s also a nationwide epidemic. We have many young men spending time in custody. For many of those leaving the prison system, more than 90% are returning to custody within the first year, creating what we call a revolving door system.

Are the police doing enough to cut down on youth crime?

With the high rate of crime, what’s expected by the police within the local community of Islington is to be able to match the figure of the rates of arrests per crime reported. What this does is it puts the local police community under peer pressure to attain a number and figure of arrests to match the ever-increasing crime rates within the local community.

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