Government announces £12m boost for youth sector

Youth projects are in line for an extra £12m in government funding to help address "urgent needs in the youth sector", Culture Secretary Nicky Morgan has announced. 

The boost includes a £7m Youth Accelerator Fund which is for expanding existing successful projects, creating extra youth club sessions and sporting opportunities. 

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) said that young people will play a key role in funding allocation decisions by working directly with policymakers. 

The #iwill Fund will receive the other £5m to enable 10- to 20-year-olds to take part in social action, such as volunteering in their communities.

Launched in September 2016, this fund has supported initiatives such as Scouts and Guides, and improved accessibility of the Duke of Edinburgh scheme to disadvantaged young people. 

The news follows Chancellor Sajid Javid's announcement in September of a separate £500m Youth Investment Fund, for five years from April 2020.

Morgan said: "This will pave the way for the ambitious, long-term infrastructure plans for our youth services that we will deliver over the next five years - led by the views of young people and those that work with them.

"If we wish to use all the great talent in our country it is vital that we offer opportunities to our next generation, not just in school but outside the school day."

Half of the fund will help build new youth centres, said the DCMS, as well as towards refurbishing existing facilities and creating more "mobile clubs". 

The remainder will fund activities that teach "important life skills", such as digital skills, culture, sport and social action, as well as investment in the youth work profession, the department added.  

New Local Youth Partnerships are also planned to be set up across the country to "co-ordinate and sustain" local youth activities.

The Chancellor's September funding pledge will go some way to reverse council cuts to youth services, which the Labour Party estimates to stand at more than £1bn.

The youth sector welcomed the news at the time, with the National Youth Agency saying it was looking forward to working with government to develop proposals and a timetable.

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