Deprived areas to get 6,000 new youth group places

By Joe Lepper

| 08 January 2019

Uniformed youth groups are to share £4.2m in government funding to boost the number of places for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Tim Kidd is the Scouts chief commissioner

The money is being distributed to nine groups through the Uniformed Youth Fund, which was announced last September, to help uniformed youth groups expand into deprived areas of England.

A total of 6,250 new places and 1,150 new adult volunteer roles are expected to be created through the funding.

The biggest funding award, of £860,500, will go to the Volunteer Police Cadets to set up 75 new units in deprived areas.

The Scouts has received £781,750 to create 60 new units as well as develop an impact measurement tool of its work with under-13s.

Scouts chief commissioner Tim Kidd said the sector would be "building on our work with disadvantaged young people" by opening new sections in the top 35 per cent IMD (index of multiple deprivation) areas, and areas of child income deprivation.

Kidd added: "The aim is to provide Scouts within easy walking distance of these areas and where there are good local transport links - easy access is everything. We know that a positive experience of Scouts can increase wellbeing, engagement and achievement in school, as well as reduce anxiety and loneliness."

"This also means we can extend our reach further into underrepresented areas, especially black and minority ethnic communities, helping us better reflect our communities," he continued.

Girlguiding has been handed £718,458 to boost volunteer numbers in areas of disadvantage and carry out research looking at children's social and emotional development, expand volunteer training and improve the accessibility of its website.

Other uniformed groups to benefit include St John Ambulance. The organisation will use its £561,250 funding award to create more volunteers and provide a mentoring and induction programme for young people.

The Sea Cadets will receive £420,937 to open 25 junior cadet units in deprived areas and pilot lowering its starting age from 10 to nine years old, with the aim of helping children when they move between primary and secondary school.

The Fire Cadets' £141,199 award will create a new unit in the North East of England with a focus on helping particularly vulnerable groups including young people not in education, employment and training, looked-after children, care leavers and young carers.

Supporting young people with special needs and mental health problems in deprived areas is the focus of the Boys Brigade's £228,993 award.

Meanwhile, the Jewish Lads' and Girls' Brigade has been handed £292,500 and the Girls' Brigade has been awarded £216,040.

"Youth groups teach important life skills, build friendships and help expand young people's horizons. Every child should have the chance to join one of these groups, no matter what background they are from or what area of the country," said digital, culture, media and sport secretary Jeremy Wright.

"This funding is creating thousands of new places so that even more children can enjoy these valuable experiences."

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