Steve Arnott: Children are the future and we must nurture their creativity

Steve is a hip-hop artist, protagonist of A Northern Soul and Founder and CEO of Beats Bus Records. He is also a public speaker and part of the sounddelivery Spokesperson Network. In this guest blog he talks about the importance of young people's access to creative workshops and the potential impact of the closure of youth clubs and provisions for creativity.

I’m Steve, Founder and CEO of Beats Bus Records, an award winning not for profit community organisation from Kingston upon Hull. Our mission statement in one sentence is “to help children make the right choices”.

Since creating the Beats Bus we have learned about the lives of young people that get cast out and pushed around in this crazy journey we call life. From home life, to life on the streets, there are so many things that we have to factor in and so many things we fail to do for the children we see. We don’t intentionally not educate children but life and responsibilities consume us so we don’t have the time to fully commit to the development of our children that we should have. 

This used to be where youth clubs and after school clubs came in but now it’s a struggle to find one. A leading educational charity has warned that thousands of youth centres across England could close permanently. The National Youth Agency said 2,000 of the 10,000 youth projects in England will struggle to re-open following the loosening of Covid-19 restrictions. All youth clubs were forced to temporarily close as part of coronavirus lockdown measures announced in the United Kingdom back in March 2020, reducing young people’s access to creative workshops. 

‘To stop a child being creative is like clipping their wings’

It seems creativity is not seen as important anymore in a child’s upbringing, and this is confusing to me. To stop a child being creative is like clipping their wings, it does not make sense. When the provisions for creativity for young people started decreasing rapidly there was nothing to fill that gap but the world seemed baffled by the increase in crime rates and young people choosing the wrong paths in life to make money and feel important. Does it not stand out to anyone that if you push someone into a corner for so long they will take any way out possible? We constantly blame young people for their choices but what choices do we leave them really.

Not many people in power seem to believe in the power of the next generation. They just seem to want to control them and put them into boxes that they are probably never going to fit in. When they don’t fit they are called outcasts or troublemakers, not acceptable for society but the question is for who’s society? That type of society leaves no room for error or diversity; it discards any differences or imperfections that to me create character and greatness.

We need to stand up and protect and serve the next generation. We need to nurture their creativity and aspirations and support them to fulfill the greatness of their full potential. That is exactly what is at the core of Beats Bus, to protect and serve the young people that the system and governments fail. I wish we could do this for all young people that feel trapped and pressured and then give up because it is too much. I know we have changed the lives of the young people we work with and it pains me that there are so many other young people in the same situation all over the world. 

Beats bus currently mentors 10 young people and we have changed the life and the path of each one. It is a constant battle to keep young people on the right path as the glamorisation of the lifestyles of gangs and drug dealing is constantly being flashed in front of their eyes. According to government figures between April and June of last year, 409 modern slavery referrals were flagged as county lines referrals, accounting for 19 per cent of all referrals received in the quarter. For that reason our latest educational music video “NO MORE COUNTY LINES” funded by Humberside PCC is a hard hitting factual account of how the gangs recruit young people to work for them you can watch it below.

I guess changing some lives is better than changing none but I just wish that the system would change and it wouldn’t have to take actions and groups to help these young people that end up another statistic. I wish that the next generation’s future was full of promise and growth but at the moment it seems very unsure. That gives us at Beats Bus Records the determination to try and fix this situation that has been created by the schooling system and the prison system that’s capacity has grown as the other systems young people navigate have failed. 

Think about it, what can you do to help? I believe children are the future. Everyone else should too. 

About the Author:

Steve is a hip-hop artist, protagonist of A Northern Soul and Founder and CEO of Beats Bus Records. He is also a public speaker and part of the sounddelivery Spokesperson Network. 


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