Cuts to London’s youth services – just when they’re needed most

Councils are having to make further cuts to vital youth services budgets, according to a report by Sian Berry, the Green Mayoral candidate for London.

Youth clubs and community centres have had to shut their doors during the coronavirus crisis, and more than ever, London’s young people need mentoring and moral support. 

But Sian’s data shows that the picture was worsening even before the pandemic, with £2.2 million cut from youth service budgets in 2019-20 compared to the previous year. 

This is on top of a decade of austerity which has seen 101 youth centres forced to shut, 733 fewer youth workers, and a devastating £34 million cut since 2010. 73 per cent of youth workers reported a negative impact in young people’s mental health since 2010.

The report also found patchy provision across London for LGBTQIA+ young people, a rise in the proportion of London children referred, and huge disparities in youth service budgets between different local authorities.

Sian said: “Investing in our young people bears fruit later on, so it’s an easy target for short-sighted budget cuts, but what is frustrating is that once cut, those trusted relationships and safe spaces – which can turn round a young life – take years to rebuild.

“Sadiq Kahn’s recent £2.1 million to support young Londoners through Covid-19 is welcome, but it won’t go anywhere near closing the shortfall that continues to grow.”

Sian continues to lobby the Mayor to increase this vital investment.


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