by Anne Thomas
Posted: Tuesday, June 10, 2008, 12:50 (BST)
The Government’s neglect of young people amounts to a “huge national crisis”, the Maranatha Community has warned.
The Christian group, which focuses on the care of children and young people, has expressed alarm over the high number of young people – 1.25 million – between the ages of 16 and 24 who are now without education, employment or training, defined by the Government as ‘Neets’.
“Thousands of them often feel they have no future and suffer from rejection and depression,” the organisation said. “Some of them are highly vulnerable and can easily be drawn into anti-social behaviour.”
Maranatha has issued a statement, “Sitting on a time bomb”, to political, social and religious leaders warning them of the challenges, which it said also included the burden on the economy caused by youth unemployment and crime, and binge drinking, drug abuse and sexually transmitted diseases.
Dennis Wrigley, leader and co-founder of Maranatha said, “The situation of these young people is often tragic in terms of their own lives but is also a desperately serious threat to our society and our economy. Christians cannot be silent.”
Maranatha is calling on the Government to drive youth problems to the top of its agenda and launch an investigation into their root causes.
“The widespread social disorder, vandalism, violence and gang culture on our streets are warning signs,” the group said.