Twice as many youth services in England’s richest areas – survey

Children in affluent areas of England are twice as likely to have access to youth clubs and other out-of-school activities as those in poorer locations, the first national snapshot of youth services in more than a decade has revealed.

The gulf emerged in a survey by the National Youth Agency (NYA) of close to 8,500 organisations providing youth services including national groups such as the Boys’ Brigade, the Woodcraft Folk, YMCA and the Marine Society & Sea Cadets, as well as councils. The majority of provision was offered by Scouts and Girlguiding.

The survey also found youth buildings are more than twice as likely to be purpose-built for or aimed towards young people in affluent areas than in deprived areas, where facilities are more likely to be shared.

調査, part-funded by the Department for Digital, 文化, Media and Sport(DCMS), comes after official figures last week showed that close to 13,000 children in England were identified by social services in 2020/21 as being at risk of criminal exploitation by gangs, which Anne Longfield, chair of the Commission on Young Lives described as “extremely troubling”.

In the top 10% most affluent postcode areas there were twice as many youth groups compared as in the 10% most deprived, it found. The largest clusters of the most deprived areas in England are in Greater Manchester, the West Midlands, the north-east, Yorkshire and parts of London. The most affluent postcodes, often suburban and rural, include ares in counties such as Berkshire, Cheshire and Devon.

首相, リシ・スナック, last week announced a settlement for youth services, badged as delivering “up to 300 youth facilities” but which youth leaders now fear could result in an overall reduction in funding previously pledged.

The £560m offered over three years appears to include a £500m youth investment fund announced in 2019 and funding for the National Citizen Service, which offers residential trips to 16- and 17-year-olds.

The NYA estimates £1bn less is being spent on youth services annually than a decade ago. The YMCA has previously calculated that youth services in England have experienced a 73% real-terms funding cut from local authorities since 2010.

“There needs to be equal access to youth provision and it shouldn’t depend on postcode or [whether you live in] an affluent area,” said Leigh Middleton, the chief executive of the NYA, who described the figures as “very stark”. “The priority should be set by where the need is greatest and supporting all young people to have equal access to youth provision.”

The survey was dominated by responses from uniformed groups – 45% were from Girlguiding and 41% from Scouts – but the NYA said while this may overstate their role in youth services, they are likely to account for a majority of provision.

合計で, 16% of the organisations that responded were local authority youth services, faith groups and smaller community organisations.

The snapshot also revealed how demand for youth services that address mental health are being swamped by demand. Two-thirds of organisations supporting mental health, wellbeing and related issues had waiting lists, rising to three-quarters in the most deprived areas. 対照的に, half of those offering physical health and sport had waiting lists.

Waiting lists were longer for providers of almost all kinds of services in deprived areas, with almost half of organisations addressing youth employment having a waiting list in the poorest areas, compared with just over a quarter in the wealthiest ones.

A DCMS spokesperson said: “Last week we announced plans to invest £560m to make sure youth services get the support they need, and this includes funding the construction or refurbishment of up to 300 youth facilities in the most deprived areas of the country.

“We also confirmed a £500m extension of our schemes to help young people find new opportunities and better paid work, over £200m to continue the holiday activities and food programme, and a further £1.8bn to support schools’ recovery from the pandemic and help the most disadvantaged pupils – which takes overall funding dedicated towards pupils’ recovery to almost £5bn.”

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