With up to 1 in 4 youth centres under the threat of closure, and emergency funding for youth services coming to an end, failure to act now will decimate the youth sector leaving a generation of young people without opportunities to thrive. NYA and YMCA’s joint report, Time’s Running Out, makes clear a national strategy is needed to secure youth services over the long term.
Youth services have a wide and popular appeal, engaging with any young people regardless of their socio-economic status or where they live. They provide the opportunity for personal development as a key part of a young person’s education, support skills for life and work, and mental and physical wellbeing. However, youth services have been cut by 73% since 2010, and annual spending has dropped by almost £1 billion.
Leigh Middleton, NYA Chief Executive commented,
“Young people must be made a priority for Covid-recovery. 4,500 qualified youth workers have been lost from the frontline, and there is a shortfall of at least 40,000 adult volunteers leaving the youth sector in a dire situation. Bold investment is required, including the immediate release of the £500 million Youth Investment Fund, alongside long-term investment to train 10,000 qualified youth workers and 40,000 adult volunteers.”
Denise Hatton, YMCA’s CEO said,
“This dire situation is only set to get worse before it gets better, as a dramatically increased need for provision is met with further budget cuts locally. Every decision not to invest in youth services right now, forces more and more youth centres into perilous situations.”
Young people must be a priority and it is imperative that the government acts to prevent these missed opportunities for young people to get the support they need, and from which we all benefit as a society.