Thursday, 16 December 2021
Denise Hatton, Chief Executive of YMCA England & Wales, said:
“Today’s statistics officially mark a decade of cuts to funding for youth services, with a real-terms fall of 74% in vital investment since 2010/11, equating to a loss of £1.1bn for young people.
“Figures released today give the impression that investment in youth services has increased over the past year, up 2% with an extra £7,257 spent across England. However, the £379,377 declared as spent on youth services in 2020/21 is 4% less than in the previous year, when inflation is taken into account.
“These stark findings are just the latest in a long line of cuts despite repeat warnings from YMCA research, and continuous calls from the sector for dramatic re-investment in young people. Youth services are vital to young people’s development, they exist to provide a sense of belonging, a safe space, and the opportunity for some of the most vulnerable young people in the country to enjoy being young.
“They also offer young people the chance to confide in youth workers and trusted adults outside of their family or school about any worries or anxieties they may have, thereby providing an invaluable opportunity for early intervention. This kind of holistic support system within the community was recently championed by a report from the Commons Health and Social Care Select Committee, released on 9 December, in the same fortnight that these latest cuts were revealed.
“Over the past year, Government has committed and recommitted to supporting youth services as part of their Youth Investment Fund, however, such investment is yet to materialise. By not investing significantly in this sector, especially in relation to the disproportionate challenges endured by this generation over the past 18 months, we run the risk of young people feeling more isolated, disregarded, and desperate than ever before.
“Two years on from its initial plea, YMCA is once again calling on the Government to prioritise young people and reinvest in youth services, and give it the long-term, sustainable funding it really needs before it’s too late. Only by investing in the services and support systems young people rely on to help build happy, healthy, and fulfilling lives will we be able to make a real difference to this generation and those that follow.”
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Each year YMCAs provide a safe space for 41,960 young people through their extensive youth services work, welcoming almost 20,000 young people through their 79 youth centres throughout England and Wales.
For more information or interview requests, please contact Aimee Reilly in the YMCA England & Wales press office at email@example.com / 078636 20084.