UK Youth’s Conservative Party Conference Panel Discussion

Working Together: a Future for All Young People

Date: Tuesday 4th October - 5.30 to 6.30

Room: Youth Zone (inside the exhibition hall)

Refreshments: Wine, juice and snacks


·         Rob Wilson MP (Minister for Civil Society, DCMS)

·         Matt Hyde (CEO, The Scouts Association)

·         Anna Smee (CEO, UK Youth)

·         Jon Boagey (Associate Director, National Youth Agency)

·         Sarah Foxall (Corporate Affairs, Microsoft) - invited

Discussion summary:

What are the most significant challenges facing those who work with young people to engage and support all young people as they transition towards adulthood and independence?

While central investment in the youth sector is coming through the National Citizen Service, the Youth Investment Fund, the Social Action Fund, and next year the Life Chances Social Impact Bond, there have been approximately £400 million pounds worth of cuts to locally funded youth services.

In response many local providers are restructuring their business and delivery models, trying to establish ways of sustaining services, such as creating social enterprise models, becoming independently registered charities, and forming Mutuals and Community Interest Companies.

These newly structured services do not just have the challenge of raising finance, but also with how to meet the ever growing need to diversify their staff skills.  No longer is it enough to deliver excellent youth facing services, these new organisations now need accountants, public relations managers, site managers, event planners and more.

The youth sector is in a state of significant change, unless we start to truly work together through a cross-sector and collective approach we are in very real danger of leaving behind hundreds of thousands of young people, unable to engage in services to meet their diverse needs, from mental health to housing from sexual health to drug awareness, from physical activity to volunteering.

UK Youth maintains that local and regional youth service providers need to be supported to ensure all young people (no matter their background or unique needs) have the chance to:

  • productively engage with positive peer groups and supportive adults in safe spaces
  • benefit from informal and non-formal learning opportunities they may not otherwise access
  • take part in social action to both develop and test their own learning and to positively contribute to their local community
  • access clear supported pathways into education, employment and community leadership roles


Is it right therefore that we should be trying to maintain year-round, holistic, community based services, or with limited resource and all the current challenges should we maintain our focus on a more targeted approach, working only with those who exhibit the most need?

This discussion will be lively, positive and solution focused, with contributions from the panel and from the floor.

To confirm your attendance please e-mail Simon Neyhouser (

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