Youth services in the East cut by 62% in a decade
Figures uncovered by YMCA have revealed that in the East of England funding for youth services has been cut by a staggering 62% since 2010 by local authorities, just above the average cut of 60% right across England and Wales. Keith Morris reports.
The funding for youth services was just under £429m in 2018/19, compared to £1.4bn in 2010/11 -a real terms decline of 70%. Discovered as part of a report into local authority expenditure on youth services in 2018/19, these latest figures add to almost a decade of devastating cuts as spending reaches its lowest point in a generation.
Chief Executive of YMCA Norfolk, Tim Sweeting said: “Youth services exist to provide a sense of belonging, a safe space, and the opportunity for young people to enjoy being young. However, for almost a decade now, local authorities have struggled under the weight of funding pressures, meaning youth services are being forced to endure continued and damaging cuts.
“Without drastic action to protect funding and significantly re-invest in youth services, we are condemning young people to become a lonely, lost generation with nowhere to turn.”
“The day-to-day impact of youth services often goes unnoticed by the public, but the consequences of these cuts cannot be underestimated. Cases of knife crime, mental health difficulties and isolation among young people continue to rise, while the number of services available to positively intervene and prevent such cases continue to decline.”
Each year YMCA supports more than 33,500 young people nationally through its youth work, with almost 8,000 participants involved in crime prevention and avoidance programmes.
In response to such overwhelming funding cuts in the region, YMCA Norfolk is asking the public to show their support in making young people the central focus of government action.
By reinstating youth services funding to 2010/11 real term levels and introducing a national youth services strategy, government would enable local authorities to deliver necessary youth services locally and support their communities.
YMCA Norfolk is asking the public to show their commitment by signing this petition and raising the issue of youth services with their local MP https://ymca.e-activist.com/page/47914/petition/1. Together, we can ensure that the services, which provide a sense of belonging and keep young people safe, do not become a thing of the past.
Pictured above is YMCA Norfolk CEO Tim Sweeting who is calling for a restoration of funding for youth services.