Government set to publish three-year youth strategy

By Adam Offord

| 08 November 2016

The government will publish a new strategy for youth services in the coming months, it has been announced.

Youth minister Rob Wilson said the government's forthcoming youth policy will cover the period up to 2020 at least.

Speaking at the Ambition UK 2016 conference in Milton Keynes, youth minister Rob Wilson said a youth policy statement intended to cover the three-year period up to 2020, will bring together a "clear narrative and vision" for how best to help young people. 

"I am delighted to announce that over the coming months we will be developing a new youth policy statement," he said. 

"It will highlight the opportunities that come out of the move [of responsibility for youth policy] to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, and how we can use our new position to give young people greater engagement with our sporting and cultural heritage." 

Wilson told delegates that the government wants use the youth sector's "insights and wisdom" to shape the new strategy.

He said the policy statement will draw on their experiences, and celebrate innovative work that is already happening in the sector. 

"I am keen for [the policy statement] to act as a road map at least until 2020 and to show where the government is heading with our youth policy so that you can see where to work with us on the way," Wilson said. 

"More than anything I want the statement to be a commitment to every young person - that we will help them to pursue their passions, lead independent lives, and as active and engaged parts of the community."

The government has come in for criticism in recent years for an apparent lack of coherent policy in relation to youth work services.

Wilson also announced that the government will arrange a ministerial roundtable event on Brexit for youth sector organisations.

He said the future that is built today is young peoples to inherit tomorrow and it is "right that they should have a say on how it is shaped".

"I'm pleased we are talking regularly to the Department for Exiting the European Union (DExEU) to make sure young people do not go unheard," he said.

"It's also why we're arranging a ministerial roundtable with organisations working in youth voice.

"This will help us to plan a process through which young people's views are represented and they can tell DExEU what their priorities are."

"If we work together, if we are innovative, if we keep a relentless focus on the needs of young people we will be successful and make good progress," he added,

Wilson also told the conference that because there is less public money available for youth services, what is available needs to be spent in a way that makes the most difference.

"That means a focus on reaching those who need it most and, crucially, helping the organisations you represent to broaden and diversify funding," he said.

"This means looking at a wider range of options for funding. For example, using philanthropy, trusts and charitable funds, social investment, direct fundraising and private sector support to build a more sustainable funding environment."

He said that there are "plenty of private organisations" that share a belief in the potential of young people and the youth sector can tap into vital funding and transform even more young lives by demonstrating capability and showing the real impact their work.

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