As we recover from the pandemic, the nation faces the worst cost of living crisis since the 1950s and there is no denying that young people are being disproportionally affected. UK Youth are deeply concerned about the impact the crisis is having on youth organisations and young people across the UK.
Most affected will be young people and those on incomes so low that they just can’t cope with the increase in cost of essentials, and that has major implications for charities and funders who work with these people.
Recent research from The Co-op found that children as young as 10 are concerned and acutely aware of the rising cost of living with almost half (47%) of 10 – 25-year-olds seeing financial pressures as one of the top five challenges they’ll face in the next 12 months. Youth employment figures are increasingly concerning and as of January 2022 there are 364,000 unemployed 18-24-year-olds in the UK. High numbers of vacancies do not translate into opportunities for all young people, and we must work harder to support young people who are making the transition from education into employment. UK Youth believe that youth services can bridge this gap and provide opportunities for young people to develop wider social, inter-personal and community skills.
For youth organisations, the cost-of-living crisis means that core costs for their premises, including bills have significantly increased. The surging petrol price is adding an extra burden for youth workers who are required to travel to young people as a fundamental part of delivering their service. It also means their volunteer numbers are likely to go down and donor income doesn’t keep pace with rising costs.
The government have talked about ‘Levelling up’ the poorest parts of the country, but with geographical inequalities and years of austerity, youth services and young people are suffering the most.
Our calls to action:
- Developing a cross-sector approach: there needs to be a joined-up approach across government, business and civil society to ensure those disproportionally affected have access to the right support and services and to design new approaches
- Provide more young people with access to youth workers and trusted adults: Youth Organisations are providing vital support to young people and youth workers are well placed to provide a safe space for young people to share their concern, access the right support and new opportunities that enable them to thrive. Our Thriving Minds Fund, which provides funding to youth organisations to support positive wellbeing for young people was oversubscribed by ten times in the first three weeks of opening. Data from this showed that one of the key drivers for poor mental health currently is high levels of poverty in some communities. After 10 years of cuts, more investment and support are needed to provide high quality youth services for young people.
- Co-designing solutions with young people organisations and communities should be engaging and involving young people in the design of services and in decision making. The Power of Youth Charter, provides a framework for organisations to involve young people to shape decisions and make a positive difference. It supports organisations to take meaningful action to empower more children and young people to be active citizens.
Join our movement here #UnlockingYouthWork
If you are a youth organisation that has been affected by the cost-of-living crisis and need support, please get in touch with UK Youth or to find out more information about how to access support, visit: https://www.nicva.org/article/charities-and-the-cost-of-living-crisis.
If you are young person and need someone to talk to during this difficult time, visit Young Minds or The Samaritans