Local authorities are responsible for allocating public funding to youth services in their area. In my view, they are best placed to understand what is required for young people in their communities.
A consultation on the guidance for local authorities which sets out how they should secure activities and services for young people concluded at the end of 2019. Preliminary roundtables have been held with youth sector organisations and young people themselves through the Government’s Youth Steering Group.
Youth services and trained youth workers can have a transformational impact, especially for young people facing multiple barriers or disadvantage. It is important that all young people are given the opportunity to develop the skills, networks and resilience that can improve their life chances and support them to avoid negative pathways such as violence and crime.
The Government’s commitment to young people was reiterated during the spending round statement in the autumn, when it was announced that the Department for Culture, Media and Sport would be developing proposals for a new youth investment fund. I am pleased that Ministers have announced this new £500 million fund will launch this year, to provide capital and revenue investment in youth services for the next five years. The Fund will help to build up to 60 new youth centres and refurbish hundreds of existing youth facilities across the country, as well as providing over 100 mobile facilities for harder to reach areas.
The Government is also investing £80 million in voluntary and community organisations that work with young people through the Youth Investment and #iwill Funds. Its continued support for the National Citizen Service – a voluntary social development programme open to all 15-17 year olds across England and Northern Ireland – also aims to build a more responsible, cohesive and engaged society.