London mayor announces £45m investment for youth services
Tuesday, February 13, 2018
The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has announced plans to invest £45m in youth services over the next three years in a bid to divert young people in London away from crime.
The move represents the largest single investment in youth services in recent years outside the government's flagship National Citizen Service.
Khan's Young Londoners Fund will make £15m-a-year available for education, sport and cultural activities aimed at disadvantaged and vulnerable young people.
The money will also be used to fund projects that have a strong focus on volunteering, citizenship and addressing childhood mental health and untreated trauma.
Of the total annual funding, £10m has been made available for community groups, charities and schools to bid for each year, while £5m will be used each year to expand existing youth projects already funded by the mayor's office.
Khan said the fund has been created to offset cuts to youth services across London, due to austerity measures by central government over the last eight years.
He said that since 2011 councils in the capital have cut youth services spending by £22m, resulting in the closure of 30 youth centres, and the loss of around 12,700 places for young people.
"It is shameful that because of this government's cuts, youth services across the capital have been decimated," said Khan.
"Wherever I go in London, communities tell me that young people need more to do - and I agree. I know from personal experience that for many young people, particularly those from deprived and disadvantaged communities, activities and services for young people offer support at crucial times, have a really positive impact and help keep them on the straight and narrow.
"It is young people who are more likely to suffer from the national rise in violent crimes and I am committed to helping them."
Rosemary Watt-Wyness, chief executive of London Youth, said she is "very encouraged" by the creation of the new fund.
"This gives a much-needed boost to the youth sector, given over £22m has been cut from youth service budgets across the capital since 2011," she said.
"We support the mayor's approach of investing in London's existing youth support structures and are pleased the funding will be open to local communities and charities who are on the ground, directly supporting young people.
"These are the organisations which young people go to and trust and who understand their needs best."