According to two very significant Charities, the “Youth services are under threat and they have lost opportunities for young people”. This statement comes as the subtitle of this report that has just been published this month. The two charities are the YMCA and the National Youth Agency. Their calls however are not isolated for these two charities, but they reflect the needs for the whole of our nation. It is clear that we now need to get the Government to do what it was claiming it would do in 2019 before COVID emerged. This report also refers to the major funding cut for youth provision that took place by the Conservative led coalition followed by the various Conservative Governments that have dramatically cut funding. A few days ago I stated that here in my call for two Sussex MPs who were DfE Ministers at the time to reverse these appalling actions. It now appears that while Gillian Keegan has been moved to the NHS Department where she is responsible for Care that Nick Gibb has been removed from the Government in the changes over the last few days. At the top of the recommendations in this document from NYA and YMCA is the statement
Young people must be a priority for Covid-recovery. A national strategy is needed to secure youth services and in support of young people, over the long term. This requires a national offer for equitable access to open access services and opportunities for all young people, and targeted youth services for those who need it.
The report discloses that
Central government is sat on a £500 million new Youth Investment Fund, delayed by over two years [when the then Chancellor of Exchequer, Sajid Javid announced it] and due to be spent before the end of this parliament, and funding for the National Citizen Service programme for 16 to 17 year olds ring-fenced until 2022-23. This still falls far short of the £1 billion annual spending has been lost to youth services in recent years.
It is clearly very important for local communities to respond to this by calling for their MPs and indeed their Council leaders to stand alongside this report and call for the Conservative Government to do what they promised in 2019 and indeed go further.