We welcome today’s publication of the Youth Review by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS). We support the ambition to ensure that every young person in England has access to regular out of school activities, adventures away from home, and opportunities to volunteer.
UK Youth is proud to be a sector-wide organisation that is able to bring together and amplify the views of youth organisations of all shapes and sizes. We are pleased that the government have responded to our collective calls to:
- Listen to young people and meaningfully involve them in decision making.
- Increase investment to make youth services more sustainable, accessible, and inclusive.
- Support young people to drive change in their own communities through the #iwill movement.
- Recognise the transformative role of outdoor learning in young people’s development.
- Expand the role of youth work in a wide range of sectors – such as education and mental health.
- Support workforce development to recruit, train, reward, and retain youth workers.
As the long-awaited Youth Investment Fund is starting to come through, the sector must work closely together to maximise its impact on young people. We have the opportunity to re-imagine delivery, with more uniformed and non-uniformed youth work organisations working together in the service of the young people in their communities.
The government has now made a significant promise with their Youth Guarantee. Now they must deliver. We have seven tests:
- Inter-sector collaboration. Local youth organisations must be empowered to work alongside national groups to engage young people in the expanded funded opportunities.
- Youth leadership – Young people must be front and centre of the design, delivery, and evaluation of these plans – including shaping how investment is spent.
- Inclusivity – Young people from all areas of the country and from all backgrounds and ethnicities must benefit.
- Sustainable funding – A significant proportion of the Youth Investment Fund must be committed to revenue funding to ensure that youth organisations can keep delivering services within new and refurbished spaces; and the government must come forward with a sustainable model for the future.
- Support for grantees – Recognising years of under-investment, government must work closely with the youth sector to ensure capital and revenue funding is accompanied by wrap-around support to improve youth organisations’ sustainability & impact.
- Workforce development – There must be sufficient investment in developing the workforce to ensure that there are enough youth workers able to provide quality, long-term provision.
- Cross-government commitment – There must be a whole government response to ensure that universal youth services are complemented by a step-change in access to specialist support (such as mental health and employment).