To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment she has made of the number of youth centres at risk of closure in 2021; and what plans she has to increase the availability of youth work.
29 October 2021
Our priority in the pandemic has been to stabilise youth charities and help them through the impact of this, so that they are in a position to deliver the outcomes envisaged for young people through the Youth Investment Fund (YIF). We have achieved this through our unprecedented charity sector package, from which £100 million has gone to organisations supporting children and young people during the pandemic, including £15.6 million through the Youth Covid Support Fund which provided emergency funding specifically for youth services.
Following the 2021 Spending Review, we are investing £560 million in youth services in England, including the Youth Investment Fund and ongoing support for the National Citizen Service.
Access to youth facilities is not felt equally, with young people in many parts of the country struggling to gain access to them. The YIF will seek to remedy this, creating and expanding youth facilities to level up opportunity in left behind places, giving young people access to support from youth workers and enabling them to engage in beneficial activities. Full details of the YIF's eligibility criteria will be announced in due course.
Government funding for the National Youth Agency has led to an increase in qualified youth workers and sustained professional standards within the youth work sector. Over the past two years we have worked with the National Youth Agency to help more than 900 youth workers gain qualifications and institute a new youth work apprenticeship. Through these joint endeavours we have supported the renewal of a range of national standards, qualifications and training programmes for youth work.