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Youth services funding cut by 69% since 2010, says YMCA

The YMCA gathered data from 84 local authorities on planned spending for 2019/20.

The YMCA gathered data from 84 local authorities on planned youth services spending for 2019/20 (PA)
The YMCA gathered data from 84 local authorities on planned youth services spending for 2019/20 (PA)

By Margaret Davis, PA Crime Correspondent

Funding for youth services has dropped by nearly 70% since 2010, research suggests.

The YMCA gathered data from 84 local authorities on planned spending for 2019/20, with the average spend per council at £2.45 million, compared with £7.79 million in 2010/11, a drop of 69%.

Previous research by the organisation showed the total spent by local authorities in England on youth services steadily decreased between 2010/11 and 2018/19.

In 2010/11 a total of £1.18 billion was spent, compared with £385 million eight years later.

I am certain that youth services have a significant role to play in helping young people who are choosing to carry knives or weapons and those who are contemplating it. Denise Hatton, YMCA

The YMCA said that nearly a third of local authorities (29%) that responded to requests for data will spend 80% less in 2019/20 than they did in 2010/11.

Seven councils will see a drop of 90% or more.

Denise Hatton, chief executive of YMCA England and Wales, said: “Youth services offer a vital lifeline within local communities, providing young people with support, advice and a place to go when they need it most.

“The year-on-year cuts to youth services are not without consequences and we are already seeing the impact of these cuts in communities across the country.”

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(PA Graphics)

She said youth services have a “significant role” to play in stopping young people from carrying weapons and falling prey to or getting involved in violent crime.

“Violent crime is a very complex issue. While I don’t feel that it can be attributed to an individual cause, I am certain that youth services have a significant role to play in helping young people who are choosing to carry knives or weapons and those who are contemplating it.

“Young people need a place to go where they can belong, where they have the opportunity to come together with peers outside of school and develop their personal growth. If they fall into the wrong group, they are unfortunately likely to stay there.

“In addition to youth centres, a lot of youth services used to focus on finding young people out on the streets and engaging with them in a way that their school or family were unable to. Sadly, there is no funding available for that any more.”

The YMCA has launched a petition calling on the Government to reinvest in youth services and is also encouraging supporters to contact their local MP.

A Government spokesman said: “Councils, not central government, are best placed to know what their communities need and they take decisions about how much they spend on youth services.

“Next year, councils in England will have the biggest rise in spending power for a decade and we’re also investing £170 million to support young people across the UK, helping many with routes into employment.”

– Of the 84 local authorities that provided data to the YMCA, these are the councils where a drop of more than 80% in spending on youth services is expected (local authority; spend in thousands in 2010/11; planned spend in thousands in 2019/20; percentage reduction).

West Berkshire, £2,853, £76, 97.3%
Gateshead, £6,958, £277, 96%
Portsmouth, £3,541, £181, 94.9%
Southampton, £4,036, £238, 94.1%
Somerset, £11,402, £688, 94%
Norfolk, £10,537, £865, 91.8%
Nottingham, £9,204, £918, 90%
Worcestershire, £8,792, £912, 89.6%
Northamptonshire, £10,693, £1,234, 88.5%
Derby, £7,233, £930, 87.14%
Hampshire, £18,689, £2,436, 87%
Liverpool, £14,629, £2,048, 86%
Bury, £3,804, £564, 85.2%
Solihull , £4,247, £643, 84.9%
Brent, £8,396, £1,281, 84.7%
Durham, £11,218, £1,750, 84.4%
Darlington, £3,170, £498, 84.3%
Bedford, £3,008, £473, 84.3%
Hillingdon, £7,020, £1,190, 83%
North Tyneside, £4,082, £748, 81.7%
Barking and Dagenham, £4,646, £872, 81.2%
Sefton, £6,893, £1,297, 81.2%
Warrington, £3,471, £668, 80.8%
Staffordshire, £14,294, £2,835, 80.2%

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