UNISON report shows government cuts of up to £13m in youth services. As well as figures from London.gov.uk showing 280 youth workers losing their jobs between 2012 and 2018.
With the increase in cuts to youth workers and services, the future of young people is put at risk. UNISON and the Labour party suggest that the cuts in services have caused the recent spike in crime and anti-social behaviour.
In the report UNISON urges that the central goverment provide a review into the funding for youth workers as Theresa May claimed to bring a decade long austerity to a close. Meaning that there should be enough funding from central government to support youth centres and workers.
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“Youth services help with employment, training and education, potential mental health issues, and act to prevent alcohol and substance abuse, as well as crime and anti-social behaviour. This all saves other parts of the public sector and the wider economy large amounts of money,” UNISON General secretary Dave Prentis.
Youth services also play a pivotal role in building one-on-one tailored support to help those who are vulnerable and at risk of going into crime.
Many young people also suffer from mental health issues, without the help and early prevention from youth centres, UNISON claims that more families are reaching crisis point. As well as staff not receiving the funding to be trained to deal with such events.
Despite figures from London.gov.uk showing the decrease in youth service staff, 53 per cent of youth workers believe that the council is delivering quality services.
A spokesperson from a London based youth centre said: “The government isn’t doing nearly enough to help youth workers, we often have to work long hours and provide support for vulnerable young people. With the current cuts we don’t have the man power or facilities to provide the quality service these young people need.”
Maria from Bermondsey who regularly uses youth centres said: “Without having the support from youth workers I would be lost and probably end up on the streets in trouble again.”
UNISON suggests that the government has a ‘statutory duty to provide youth services‘ otherwise without the support of youth centres, people like Maria might end up on the wrong path.