Youth service investment leads to long-term savings, says charity

Laura McCardle
Monday, March 31, 2014

Greater investment in early intervention youth services could significantly reduce government spending in the long-term, the boss of a charity that works with at-risk young people has said.

Diana Whitmore, Teens and Toddlers chief executive, believes that investment in youth services is key to reducing the cost of disadvantaged young people
Diana Whitmore, Teens and Toddlers chief executive, believes that investment in youth services is key to reducing the cost of disadvantaged young people

Diana Whitmore, chief executive of Teens and Toddlers, said she is disappointed by widespread cuts to youth services, warning they are missing an opportunity to tackle problems earlier. She wants to see more funding invested in better support for those most in need that, she says, will reduce public spending in the long run.

Her comments come as the social exclusion charity publishes findings of a survey of graduates of its mentoring programme, which is designed to improve outcomes for teenagers who are at risk of becoming Neet (not in education, employment or training).

The research reveals that 96 per cent of participants aged between 16 and 19 years old are in education, employment or training and that 53 per cent of all graduates achieved five A to C grades at GCSE.

Whitmore said that the findings of the survey, which was completed by 1,013 13- to 20-year-olds, prove that investment in youth services is key to reducing the cost of Neets.

She said: “It is important for the decision makers to understand that investing in programmes such as ours rather than cutting funds can save society an enormous amount of money by preventing young people from becoming disengaged with work, school and life in the first place.

“We work with at-risk young people at a vital stage in their lives to prevent them from dropping out of education, work and life.

“We do this on a deep level to help them understand who they are and what they can become – regardless of what has come before in their often chaotic lives.

“The results of this survey prove that what we are doing is working.”

The charity claims that for every £1 spent on the programme, society saves £6.

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