The Government have unveiled a £500 million plan to boost youth centres. The Youth Investment Fund will spread over five years, starting at £68 million in 2020/21.
Responding to the announcement Denise Hatton, Chief Executive, YMCA England & Wales said:
“While this investment makes a very welcome contribution towards vital funding for youth services, it still leaves a substantial shortfall in spend between the allocation of £1.18bn in 2010/11 and £416m in 2017/18.
“In reality, a further £250m is needed in addition to the announced £500m to meet this shortfall and restore funding to levels of a decade ago, alongside improved guidance for local authorities on how best to deliver funding in order to ensure both targeted and universal support.
“The additional funding announced today does seem focused on buildings and refurbishments. In many places the issue is not one around availability of physical locations but rather the resources to deliver actual services for young people.
“YMCA therefore believes that what would aid this funding boost would be a national strategy which unlocked the potential of local buildings such as schools, churches and community centres which would mean the announced funding could be weighted towards increasing the amount of youth workers on our streets. The outcome being a youth work offer for young people which is viable, reliable and sustainable beyond this initial funding.”
YMCA has been campaigning for the Government to prioritise youth services. Young people have suffered as a direct result of funding cuts across England and Wales. Since 2010/11, youth services such as youth clubs and youth workers have been cut by 69%.