The House of Commons will be holding a general debate on youth services next week.
The discussion will look at the role and sufficiency of youth services. Youth services include cooking classes, sports lessons, volunteering projects, coding classes for girls and support for homeless young people.
Youth services have been badly affected by budget cuts, and there is a prevailing view that youth centres provide children at risk with a home-from-home and somewhere they can feel safe, learn important skills and experience a sense of community.
Since 2011, at least £22 million has been cut from youth service budgets in London, and councils in the city have cut their youth service budget by around £1 million. Figures suggest that around 30 youth centres in London have been shut down, affecting 12,700 places for young people.
A piece over at Rife – Bristol’s very excellent magazine written by and for young people in the city – explains why the centres are so important to the kids in the area. The article mentions that 79% of young people who are considered vulnerable or in need, use youth services and that while these services are used by children in need, there is currently no legal duty on the government to ensure their provision.
A survey carried out by Unison asked young people what they felt about the impact youth service cuts had on their lives. In response, 83 per cent said the cuts were having an effect on crime and antisocial behaviour, and 71 per cent said the lack of services had made it harder for young people to stay in formal education.
The debate will be held on Wednesday 24 July, in the main chamber, and a briefing paper for the discussion will be made available shortly, which we will share with you as soon as we receive it.