Government’s new funding to transform hundreds of youth facilities in deprived areas

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Young people are to benefit from the rebuilding and renovation of youth centers in some of the country's most disadvantaged areas, as beneficiaries of the first major tranche from the Government's Youth Investment Fund have been announced today.

Over £90 million has been allocated to 43 organizations from the Fund's overall total of over £300 million. This will pave the way for 300 youth facilities to be built or refurbished over the next three years in areas where need is high and existing youth provision is low.

Facilities set to benefit include community youth spaces and youth centers large and small, aiming to help 45,000 more young people access regular, positive activities every year. This will support their wellbeing, give them opportunities to develop vital skills for life and empower them to be active members of their local community.

Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer said:

I want every young person to have the opportunity to access the kinds of life-changing activities which expand their horizons and allow them to develop vital life skills.

The National Youth Guarantee will provide these opportunities and support young people with access to regular club activities, adventures away from home and volunteering opportunities.

We are supporting this today with an investment to create or renovate spaces for youth clubs and activities to support opportunities for thousands of young people across the country who would otherwise miss out."

Examples of those receiving grants in this tranche of funding include:

  • Edinburgh House - This organization in Stoke-on-Trent will use its grant of nearly £2 million for a renovation and extension project to support an additional 150 young people per week. Working closely with young people to develop the project plans, funding will allow the project to extend their offering of workshops, which range from art sessions, photography, drama, music and dance, to mindfulness, cooking, nutritional education, sports and outdoor activities.
  • Lambton Street - A youth project based in Sunderland that aims to help young people develop the skills to transition into adulthood in a safe and caring environment. Allocated a £785,000 grant, it will undergo a redesign and upgrade to extend its reach to an additional 120 young people a week, make the building accessible to disabled young people and to radically improve its sustainability.
  • Brighton Youth Centre - Allocated a £4.3 million grant, this project will be transformed into a state-of-the-art facility accessible for all young people across Brighton, aiming to reach 3,000 young people a week. All activities are free to young people, offering a range of activities from arts and music to safe spaces for counseling.
  • The Alt Valley Skills Centre - A hub for all young people, they provide social care, life skills, education, training, social and wellbeing activities for people with special needs. The Youth Investment Fund grant of £2.5 million will transform the building, enabling it to support over 200 more young people per week with additional activities, including horticulture, cooking, games nights, disco nights, fitness, drama and movie nights.
  • Nottingham Mencap - A charity that gives people living with learning disabilities or autism choice and independence. Through a grant of £445,400 the project will be refurbished to offer a music and drama room, an IT suite and a gymnasium, as well as allowing a lift to be installed to improve accessibility. Once complete, the site will cater up to 100 young people at a time.

This funding follows an initial £12 million being fast-tracked to more than 400 local youth services between January and March 2022 to expand the reach and range of services they offer and to cover small-scale capital improvements. This included providing new laptops to youth groups, small redevelopments of buildings and facilities, and improving access to transport.

As the lead delivery partner, this phase of the fund will be coordinated and managed by Social Investment Business, who support charities and social enterprises to build stronger and fairer communities.

Nick Temple, CEO of Social Investment Business said:

Every young person deserves access to high quality activities and facilities, providing the opportunities to help them thrive. The Youth Investment Fund is helping make that vision a reality, supporting organisations and projects in the areas of England that need it most.

It's been amazing to see the wide range of projects applying to the Fund, and especially how young people have played a meaningful role in shaping those plans. There is a real appetite to develop inclusive, accessible and sustainable facilities that will be there for future generations - and that is reflected in the first set of grants announced today."

Alongside the latest beneficiaries of the Youth Investment Fund, the Government has announced it will support an additional one million hours of youth services over the coming two years, through an initial £11 million investment, enabling the equivalent of 200 youth clubs to open their doors for an extra night a week.

The funding will be targeted at youth clubs in areas with the highest rates of anti-social behaviour to get young people on the right track through positive activities and role models. This forms part of the government's Anti-Social Behaviour Action Plan announced today, aiming to eradicate antisocial behaviour from our communities.

In a further move, the Government has also approved £16.9 million of funding to expand access to uniformed youth groups, aiming to create 20,000 new places for young people aged between 10-18 across the country.

The groups to benefit are:

  • The Scout Association
  • Girlguiding
  • Jewish Lads' and Girls' Brigade
  • Girls' Brigade
  • Boys' Brigade
  • Marine Society & Sea Cadets
  • Volunteer Police Cadets
  • St John Ambulance

To date £1.5 million has been allocated to eight uniformed youth groups via the fund, with over 1,200 of a total 2,000 places already created in areas with no existing provision.

Matt Hyde, Chief Executive of Scouts said:

Every week, Scouts gives almost half a million young people the skills they need for the job interview, the important speech, the tricky challenge and the big dreams: the skills they need for life. We are really grateful to the Government for committing this new funding so that we can help even more young people learn these through Scouts. It means we can work to make sure more young people in areas of deprivation have adventures away from home, learn outside school and get the chance to volunteer."

Today's announcements form the latest part of the Government's 'National Youth Guarantee', that will ensure every young person aged 11-18 in England has access to regular clubs and activities, adventures away from home, and volunteering opportunities by 2025, backed by an investment of over £500 million investment.

The National Youth Guarantee will provide greater access to activities such as The Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme and the National Citizen Service, and uniformed youth groups such as Scouts, Girlguiding, and Cadets.



The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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