Analysis by the YMCA has found that youth services in England have had their local authority funding cut by 73% in less than a decade.
In response to this, Barnardo’s Chief Executive Javed Khan said:
“The figures quoted in the YMCA report are alarming but sadly not surprising. Barnardo’s has long warned about the need for urgent investment in youth services to help stop children from being criminally exploited and getting involved in knife crime.
“Too many children are left vulnerable to gangs who promise protection, a source of income, and a sense of belonging that they’re not getting elsewhere. Years of under-funding and the reduction in safe spaces has contributed to a ‘poverty of hope’ among young people. Covid-19 has made this even worse, with more young people struggling in families under financial pressure, and some slipping into the hands of exploitative gangs.
“To turn the tide we must have long-term investment in children and young people’s services overall, which families can access before they reach crisis point. The Government is rightly reviewing the care system and early years support. We will need a commitment to multi-year funding, and new ways of working between national government, local agencies and charities, to make sure that this translates into real change for children.”