Drop in youth funds is biggest in Northumberland
There has been a 75% fall in local authority spending on youth services in Northumbria since 2011, with Northumberland suffering the greatest financial blows, according to a new report.
The research, conducted as part of Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness’ preventing crime strategy, shows that the decrease is impacting kids in the countryside the hardest.
She is calling on the Government to urgently invest in youth services, particularly in rural communities.
And she also wants it to with local authorities, front-line services and young people to create a Rural Action Plan to radically transform the provision of youth services in rural areas.
According to the report, the average net expenditure on youth services is currently £62 per head in urban areas, whereas in rural areas it is £47 per head (a decrease from £108 per head in 2011).
Ms McGuinness, said: “Young people in rural areas are telling us they have little, if any, access to youth provision.
“They tell us all the action and opportunity is in the towns and cities and, quite frankly, they are getting a raw deal simply because of where they live. Some don’t have a clue what a youth club is.
“There are some fantastic youth organisations supporting young people but the struggle to keep afloat is so real – we’ll see fewer and fewer at this rate. Some are already feeling there only choice will be to close.
“Without real investment, 2.25million young people will be left behind living in predominantly rural areas, living in villages, towns and coastal areas. More than 30,000 of these young people are from Northumberland alone.
“Unfortunately, the lack of youth services has most impact on teenagers who could get into trouble, even if they’re not already. They prevent problems arising and can prevent the vulnerable from getting caught up in county lines and other forms of criminality.
“Young people and their needs are constantly being overlooked. It’s particularly our rural youths who seem to be missing from the Government’s levelling up agenda. The Government is also missing a sense of urgency on this.”
Go to northumbria-pcc.gov.uk/youth-survey-kim-mcguinness to read the findings in full and the recommendations set out by the commissioner.