13 February 2024

As you may have seen from our social media post yesterday (13 February 2024), our latest report shows that unfortunately youth services remain way down the priority list for funding and support from local government.

In real terms, there has been a funding increase for youth services of just 3% – but with 70% of available funding cut in England and Wales since 2010/11, this means an actual loss of financial support for youth services of £1.1bn.

Here at YMCA Thames Gateway Group, we know that youth services play a really important role in building the confidence, resilience and skills of young people, as well as providing a safe space within the community. However, a lack of investment means that there are fewer resources and opportunities for young people, which in-turn has impacted on the youth work that we provide in areas such as Kent and Greenwich.

Investment in areas such as Barking & Dagenham are impressive and put the local authority in the top 10% of expenditure amongst local authorities in England & Wales. Greenwich, however, is in the bottom 50% with a 6% reduction in spend since 2010-11.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. 

This year, 2024, is providing us with an opportunity to work to ensure young people everywhere have access to safe spaces where they can thrive.

Our General Election Manifesto sets out the following recommendations to do just that:

  • Long-term revenue funding: we will advocate for continued funding to boost accessible youth services, catering to all young people throughout the year
  • Cross-departmental strategy: we believe a cross-departmental strategy for youth services should be established, developing a long-term vision for nationwide facilities
  • Duty on Local Authorities: we would like to see an enforced requirement on local authorities to ensure that all young people can access youth services in their local areas, with necessary government support and resourcing.

Join our campaign for change and help put youth services back on the agenda. https://bit.ly/3Sev0wj

See the map and how this affects your local area.