Plight of young jobless highlighted by bishop

Bishop of Sheffield: Rt Rev Dr Steven Croft.
Bishop of Sheffield: Rt Rev Dr Steven Croft.

THE Bishop of Sheffield highlighted the record level of youth unemployment people in his Easter sermon, asking the congregation to imagine what it must feel like for the one in five people aged under 24 who were out of work.

Things were getting worse for a generation, at a time when some of the services that helped them were being cut, said the Rt Rev Dr Steven Croft.

The message of the resurrection was about people fulfilling their potential - “finding abundant life” - in a world often characterised by disappointment and a perpetual perception of failure, he said.

But many never reached their full potential. “There are people today in hospitals and prisons, in broken families or difficult relationships, trapped by poverty or debt, uncertain about their future,” he said. “The Christian faith is not a faith for those who pretend their problems are sorted out.”

Dr Croft added: “There are many in our region who are struggling because of the economy and because of cuts in public spending. Many are afraid for their jobs and futures. As a church we should be concerned for them all.

“But we need to have a particular care at this time as a city and as a region for our young people. Youth unemployment has been rising for some time and is now at a record high.

He added: “One in five young people under 24 is out of work. Imagine what that means. Almost a third of those who are jobless in South Yorkshire are under 24 . Many will feel they have little prospect of earning a living. Imagine what that does when you are young to your sense of purpose, of fulfilment, of aspiration.

“At the same time, some of the services which support and help young people are being cut back. Where will they turn? This is not for them abundant life.”

At Sheffield Cathedral, the Bishop urged the church to work in partnership with others “to ensure that the message of the resurrection becomes a reality in the lives of these young people.

“As a church and as a society we must do all we can to ensure that every young person fulfils his or her potential, and has the opportunity to work for a living.

“At the present time things are getting worse not better for this generation.

“We urgently need a new creative partnership of business leaders, colleges and universities, faith communities and local government to work together to ensure that all the young people of our region have a strong and hopeful future.”