Twice as many youth services in wealthier parts of England – survey | young people

Children in wealthy parts of England are twice as likely to have access to youth clubs and other extracurricular activities as those in poorer areas, the first national overview of youth services since over a decade.

The sinkhole emerged in a National Youth Agency (NYA) survey of nearly 8,500 organizations providing services to young people, including national groups such as the Boys’ Brigade, Woodcraft Folk, YMCA and Navy. Society & Sea Cadets, as well as advice. The majority of the offer was offered by the scouts and guides.

The survey also found that buildings for young people are more than twice as likely to be purpose-built or aimed at young people in wealthy areas than in deprived areas, where facilities are more likely to be shared. .

The survey, funded by the Youth Futures Foundation, comes after official figures from last week showed nearly 13,000 children in England were identified by social services in 2020/21 as being at risk of criminal exploitation by gangs, which Anne Longfield, chair of the Commission on Young Lives described as “extremely disturbing.”

He found that there were twice as many youth groups in the wealthiest 10% of the postal code regions as in the poorest 10%. The largest clusters of England’s most deprived areas are found in Greater Manchester, the West Midlands, the North East, Yorkshire and parts of London. The wealthiest postcodes, often suburban and rural, include areas of counties such as Berkshire, Cheshire and Devon.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak last week announced a regulation for youth services, described as “up to 300 youth facilities” but which youth leaders now fear will lead to an overall reduction in youth services. previously promised funding.

The £ 560million offered over three years appears to include a £ 500million youth investment fund announced in 2019 and funding for the National Citizen Service, which offers residential trips to 16 and 17 year olds .

The NYA estimates that £ 1 billion less is spent each year on youth services than a decade ago. The YMCA previously calculated that youth services in England have suffered a 73% reduction in real funding from local authorities since 2010.

“There must be equal access to the offer for young people and it should not depend on the postcode or [whether you live in] a wealthy neighborhood, ”said Leigh Middleton, chief executive of the NYA, who called the numbers“ very startling ”. “Priority must be set where the need is greatest and helping all young people to have equal access to youth services. “

The survey was dominated by responses from groups in uniform – 45% were from Girl Guiding and 41% from Boy Scouts – but the NYA said that while this may overstate their role in youth services, they are likely to represent the majority of services.

A total of 16% of the organizations that responded were youth services of local authorities, faith groups and smaller community organizations.

The snapshot also revealed how the demand for youth mental health services is overwhelmed by demand. Two-thirds of organizations supporting mental health, wellness and related issues had waiting lists, reaching three-quarters in the most disadvantaged areas. In contrast, half of those offering physical health and sport had waiting lists.

Waiting lists were longer for providers of almost all types of services in disadvantaged areas, with almost half of organizations dealing with youth employment having a waiting list in the most disadvantaged areas. poor, compared to just over a quarter of the richest.

A DCMS spokesperson said: ‘Last week we announced our intention to invest £ 560million to make sure youth services get the support they need, and that includes funding for the construction or renovation of up to 300 establishments for young people in the most disadvantaged areas of the country.

“We have also confirmed a £ 500million extension of our programs to help young people find new opportunities and better paid work, over £ 200million to continue holiday activities and the food program, and An additional £ 1.8bn to support the recovery of schools after the pandemic and help the most disadvantaged pupils – bringing the overall funding dedicated to the recovery of pupils to almost £ 5bn. “

This article was last modified on November 1, 2021. The survey in question was fully funded by the Youth Futures Foundation, and not “partly funded by the Department of Digital Culture, Media and Sports” as it put it. an earlier version due to information provided by the National Youth Agency.

Comments are closed.