London Manifesto - Family Work

YMCA is there for all young people in London, supporting those going through difficult times, as well as providing activities for young people in the community to enjoy. As London’s biggest charitable provider of youth development services, YMCA will always seek to support a young person holistically.

Direction from national government to reduce spending has meant that local councillors have been placed under enormous pressures to balance budgets. As such, there has been a significant reduction in funding for youth service provision, which has naturally had an impact on the services available to young people. Despite the reduction in funding, YMCAs across London continue to deliver support programmes for those in our residential accommodation and provide access to counselling and training to almost 3,000 young people who attend YMCA youth clubs.

Young people have not been the priority when it comes to budgets or services across London. While there is a variety of opinion for why this is the case, what is apparent is that there is no accountability for Mayoral or GLA decisions that affect young people. Until the voting age is lowered to 16-years-old which would ensure true accountability, YMCA in London would like to see the Mayor held responsible for their actions to support young Londoners by young Londoners themselves.

YMCA works with young people of all ages, recognising that support in the earliest years can have a positive impact upon a young person’s long term development. As the capital’s biggest voluntary sector provider of before-and after-school childcare services, YMCA not only supports children in London but, in many cases, enables parents to go to work and support their families.

YMCA recognises that the development of a young person’s character will be influenced and shaped by the world around them. This is particularly true for how young people see their bodies with girls as young as five-years-old worried about the way they look and their size and a third of young boys aged eight to 12-years-old dieting to lose weight. With this in mind, YMCA as a founding partner of the Be Real Campaign for body confidence would want to see a greater commitment from the Mayor and the GLA to ensure that a diverse representation of Londoners was present in its advertising and communications.

While our central role is focussed within London, work is done to extend the reach of our impact through Y Care International; our international development partner. Together we provide opportunities for young people in London to participate in international activities that impact the lives of vulnerable young people overseas.


  • Increased focus and investment in youth services for young people.
  • A panel of young leaders including representatives from youth charities, youth councils, youth clubs and Young Mayors should be established, which scrutinises the work of the Mayor.
  • An annual Mayor’s Question Time event specifically for young people.
  • The Mayor and the GLA will advocate to Parliament for the voting age to be lowered to 16 for Mayoral elections.
  • The Mayor and the GLA to sign up and support the Be Real Campaign for body confidence and ensure Londoners are accurately reflected in all its advertising.