Almost two-thirds of England’s youth organisations are at risk of closure, according to new research from the charity UK Youth.
Whilst the coronavirus pandemic has left 1.5 million vulnerable young people in need of vital help, many of the groups that support them are at risk themselves. What’s more, 31% of youth organisations surveyed with an income of less than £250,000 said they might have to shut in the next six months.
Writing for the Guardian, journalist Amelia Hill highlighted ‘a backdrop of of years of chronic underfunding’ as a contributing factor, and warned of another set of ‘major cuts to local authority youth services’ in the future.
UK Youth’s research, based on responses from 1,759 youth organisations, will feed into a larger report due to be published later this year. The charity’s UK Youth Fund (COVID relief) distributed £2 million to support small youth organisations, and used the funding questionnaire as an opportunity to learn about the impact of COVID-19 on these organisations and the challenges they face.
Back in November, Leigh Middleton, the CEO of the National Youth Agency (NYA), had already emphasised the growing threat to youth work. He said:
‘We need urgent funding for frontline youth services and additional funding for youth charities to secure their capacity to support young people into the New Year.’
The NYA, which is the national body for youth work, called for early release of youth investment funds, more funding for youth charities, strengthened guidance and ring-fenced funding, and the inclusion of young people in decision-making and responses to COVID-19.
Help for local youth organisations from Voscur
If your organisation supports Bristol’s young people aged 8-19 (either you are based here, or some of your services are), you could be eligible for the Youth Sector Support Fund from Quartet Community Foundation and Bristol City Council. 90% of funding is for youth services; the remaining 10% is for play services. There are rolling deadlines, and the next deadline is Tuesday 12 January 2021.
Voscur can offer support before, during and after your funding application – even if you’re undecided, this could just involve a brief chat about whether this is the right grant for you. Due to coronavirus safety measures, support takes place by video call, phone call or email. We also hold an annual conference for the CYP sector.
Do you need support in other areas of your organisation, such as governance, volunteer management or forming partnerships? Voscur may be able to help. Fill in our online form and tell us what you need; a member of the Development Team will be in touch.