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Topic: Cuts to London youth services continuing

Cuts to London youth services continuing
02 Aug 2020 22:45 #5465

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[Original article]

lost youth services 2020Siân Berry, one of two Green members of the London Assembly, has issued her fifth report on cuts to youth services in the capital. Her data shows that, after nearly a decade of austerity, councils in London are still feeling forced to take money out of vital youth services with a further £2.2m removed.

  • £34 million has been removed from council youth services budgets since 2011-12
  • 101 youth centres have closed
  • 733 youth worker jobs have been lost
  • A further £2.2 million has been lost from youth service budgets in 2019-20 budgets, compared with 2018-19.

These figures are based on spending plans drawn up before the Covid-19 crisis. Ms Berry welcomes the Mayor of London’s recent pledge for an additional £2.1 million to support young Londoners who have been most impacted by the coronavirus lockdown, which she says will help youth organisations provide support this summer to the most vulnerable young people, but concludes that it will still will not go anywhere near to closing the long-term gaps that continue to grow.

Data relating to Enfield in the report shows the following:

  • In 2011-12 Enfield budgeted £3,548,353 on youth services. By 2019-20 this had fallen to £505,820, a reduction of 86 per cent.
  • Enfield was one of several boroughs that increased its youth services budget between 2018-19 and 2019-20, but for 2020-21 a reduction of £30,000 is planned.

The report notes that Enfield Council has obtained some new funding from the Young Londoners Fund, with a grant of £1,326,588 as the result of a consortium bid, with 20 different organization delivering 23 different projects. The projects run for three years, beginning this February.

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Cuts to London youth services continuing
03 Aug 2020 16:30 #5466

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As far back as 2014 these cuts have been linked to gang crime and deaths due to the removal of facilities for the young people in the most deprived areas. Each young person who is killed costs the community about £1m in financial terms let alone the emotional fallout (this is about the same as the cost of a road death). In Haringey several youth centres were closed to save £3m. The number of deaths and serious crimes since then has been off the scale and there is a direct correlation between the closures and the crime. It was very depressing when some of the youth centres were re-opened a few years ago and they didn't even have the money for the staffing or the facilities.

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Cuts to London youth services continuing
05 Aug 2020 17:04 #5467

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Neil Littman raises a deeply troubling problem, perhaps another example of the market being used as a substitute for policy. I recall always being struck by the councils budget consultation results and how the more youth related options were inevitably propping up the rest; a reflection I believed of who bothered to take part in the consultation exercise. It’s an example of why consultations themselves can’t give an absolute solution; rather inform politicians who still need to take a holistic view after drawing on all available evidence, including reasonably anticipated implications.

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Cuts to London youth services continuing
05 Aug 2020 18:54 #5468

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Hot on the heels of Sian Berry's report on drastic cuts to funding of youth services comes this report on the impact of Covid-19 on youth services in London:

londonyouth.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Full-Results-Running-on-Reserves-Final-web.pdf

This is the text of a press release issued by City Hall:

Mayor issues stark warning about the future of London’s youth clubs
03 August 2020

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has warned the capital’s services for young people face going “back to square one” unless the Government provides immediate support for the city’s vital youth clubs and community organisations.

London’s community and charities that provide services for young Londoners have been hit hard by the impact of Covid-19 and lockdown, with nearly a third reporting that they face closure within six months due to finances and struggling to cover running costs, according to new data compiled by London Youth. Nearly half (47 per cent) of those surveyed by London Youth had to furlough staff and 78 per cent are regularly working with fewer young people than they were before lockdown.

Without access to education or opportunities provided by services dedicated to young people that are often a lifeline for the most vulnerable, lockdown has heavily impacted young Londoners with nearly three-quarters of community organisations saying that the mental health of their young people has been affected.

The Mayor shares concerns about young people’s physical health and mental health, their employment and financial situations, and the risk of them becoming involved in serious violence as lockdown eases.

The Mayor, and London’s Violence Reduction Unit, have invested £2.1 million to support projects for young Londoners over the summer and autumn that are dedicated to improving the wellbeing and opportunities of young people aged up to 25 across London, including some of the most vulnerable young people and their families. During the pandemic, City Hall also joined a network of more than 60 funders who collectively invested more than £20m to support civil society organisations and charities in providing much-needed services, such as foodbanks and supporting vulnerable Londoners, during a time of rising demand but shrinking resources. This is on top of the Mayor’s £70m investment in young Londoners.

But despite support from City Hall, the Mayor is concerned about losing vital clubs and centres in London, at a time when young Londoners need their support now more than ever.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “At a time when we need our amazing community groups and local charities to provide support for young people more than ever, the impact of Covid-19 means many are struggling to survive.

“I’m leading from the front to tackle violent crime in London – by being both tough on crime and tough on the causes of crime. The key is investing in young people across our city.

“During the last decade of Government austerity, ministers slashed police and youth services - causing violent crime to rise in London and across the UK. Now we are in danger of going back to square one under a new era of austerity, as the Government refuses to compensate Londoners for the cost of Covid-19. Unless they urgently give us the funding we need, they risk undoing all of the hard work we have been doing in London to support young people. Now is the time to invest in our youth services, our communities and our police - not more cuts.”

Lib Peck, Director of London’s Violence Reduction Unit, today visited HR Sports Academy in Tottenham that has received funding from City Hall and is offering opportunities and activities for young people during the summer holidays.

She said: “I want to thank our youth clubs and our hardworking youth workers who have gone above and beyond to do everything they can to support our young people during lockdown.

“It’s clear we face further challenges as lockdown restrictions are eased and that means addressing the impact that the pandemic has had on young people’s mental health, education and opportunities.

“London’s Violence Reduction Unit is committed to working with our youth services and our investment from City Hall will help some of those hardest hit to provide positive opportunities for our young people throughout the summer and autumn. But we’ve got to do more and that requires a national commitment for funding and support to help our youth services who continue to play such a crucial role in violence reduction.”

Rosemary Watt-Wyness, Chief Executive of London Youth, said: “Community youth organisations play a crucial role in the lives of thousands of young people; building confidence and skills and nurturing trusted support and relationships. Over lockdown they have been at the heart of communities, supporting parents as well. Now, just when young people are facing huge challenges to their wellbeing and employment prospects, many youth projects face a very uncertain future. We are calling on government to turn the tide of years of cuts and invest in our youth services.”
Notes to editors

London Youth’s ‘Running on Reserves’ report: londonyouth.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Full-Results-Running-on-Reserves-Final-web.pdf

City Hall’s £2.1m investment will fund additional positive activities to support children and young people in London in the aftermath and transition period as lockdown measures from COVID-19 start to ease.

Investment will allow for a six-month programme of activities to March 2021, including outreach and detached youth work, to support children and young people, including the most vulnerable young people and their families. The £2.1m investment is made up of £1.6m from the Mayor’s Young Londoners Fund and £500,000 from the Violence Reduction Unit, and The London Community Response Fund will be managing the allocation of funds.

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Cuts to London youth services continuing
05 Aug 2020 19:03 #5469

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Plenty of reasons to be concerned about provision for our young people (see the report and comments above), but here we have an example of someone putting his own money into a project designed to give a leg-up to young people in Edmonton.

Read more about this project at 21kdigitalmedia.com/ and in particular 21kdigitalmedia.com/we-are-building-edmonton-together/ .

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