Local youth services ‘need more funding’

The Government is to review its programmes supporting youth services in the spring, after announcing £100 million to deliver the National Citizen Service and invest in youth services in last month’s Spending Review.

The LGA has repeatedly called for devolution of some National Citizen Service (NCS) funding to local youth services, which can provide the year-round support that many young people need. 

The NCS, which offers two to four weeks of voluntary activity for 16 to 17-year-olds, received £1.26 billion in funding from 2016 to 2020 – an estimated 95 per cent of the Government’s youth services budget – despite only one in six eligible young people taking part. 

In contrast, because of funding reductions and increased urgent child protection work, council spending on youth services has had to be cut by 69 per cent since 2010/11, from £1.4 billion to £429 million. 

Cllr Judith Blake, Chair of the LGA’s Children and Young People Board, said: “Youth services have a vital role to play in providing young people with safe spaces to go and trusted relationships with adults who can help them make positive life choices.

“While the NCS programme has value and should continue, it is wrong that nearly all of the Government’s funding for youth services is being spent on a time-limited programme that attracts only a small number of participants and cannot replace year-round provision for young people of all ages.”

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