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YMCA Petition Plea For More Funding As Youth Services Budget Slashed By 70%

Published on: 13 Mar, 2020
Updated on: 13 Mar, 2020

Since 2010, youth services in England and Wales have suffered 70% cuts in funding and this week’s budget has done nothing to help.

Now Guildford’s YMCA on Bridge Street, part of YMCA DownsLink Group, is helping back a petition asking the Government for more funds

Guildford YMCA is calling on people to sign a petition calling on the Government to provide more funding for youth services.

Downslink, among the biggest providers of youth services in the South East, cites a national YMCA report revealing one in four young people feel so afraid of gangs they do not spend time with friends outside school.

More than half (55%) feel youth services should keep them off the streets, but 50% of youngsters could not find youth services near them.

Fear of being a victim of crime (22%) and knife crime specifically (17%) stopped them spending time with friends away from school. Almost a fifth (18%) wanted more local youth crime intervention.

But avoiding crime was not their only concern, the YMCA survey of 998 youngsters aged between 11 and 15 revealed.

A third of young people (33%) worry about their future, want to develop new skills (56%) and help improve confidence and self-esteem (55%).

Yet, understandably, the main reason they wanted more youth services was the chance to have fun and make friends (57%).

Almost a third (29%) said they do not have a non-family adult they trust enough to talk to about their problems, and 29% said they have nowhere to go to socialise apart from school.

Chas Walker, CEO of DownsLink, said: “These findings show young people are crying out for the very things youth services are specifically designed to provide.

“Every young person deserves a safe space, a trusted adult and the opportunity to enjoy being young. Young people are telling us what they need and their needs must be listened to and acted on.”

YMCA DownsLink is urging the government to reinvest in youth services funding. With a national youth services strategy, local authorities would be able to meet the needs of young people.

YMCA DownsLink says: “You can be of vital help by signing this petition and raising youth services with local MPs. Our youngsters must have a sense of belonging and they need our help to be kept off the streets.”

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