31 January 2020

YMCA England & Wales have published Out of Service, a report examining the expenditure by Local Authorities on Youth Services in England & Wales.

Figures uncovered by YMCA reveal the true extent of cuts to youth services funding by local authorities in England and Wales since 2010, with an allocation of 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.

Every region of England has each seen funding for youth services cut by more than 60% since 2010, including across the North West where funding has fallen by 74%.

Justin Hill, Chief Executive of YMCA St Helens 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 through our youth work, with almost 8,000 participants involved in crime prevention and avoidance programmes

In response to such overwhelming funding cuts, YMCA St Helens 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 St Helens are asking the public to show their commitment by signing this petition and raising the issue of youth services with their local MP. 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. 

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