Cost of Living Crisis – an early spotlight on London’s youth clubs
05 October 2022
We are entering a period of economic crisis for the youth sector that feels equal in its magnitude as the pandemic period which preceded it. Critically though, there has been no recovery period in between to build back the infrastructure and resources to support young people. This means that reserves are gone, demands for services are up, and the workforce is stretched to beyond capacity.
To get a snapshot of current concerns to inform our positions, London Youth went out to our membership last month to ask the following questions:
- What are the practical and financial realities you are currently facing as an organisation, and as youth workers?
- What are young people telling you about their daily experiences?
- How do you think the next few months are going to affect your provision?
This is what we heard from our Policy Advisory Group:
- Youth clubs providing sports facilities are questioning whether they can continue providing the same level of provision in winter months, when energy bills escalate, necessitating greater use of electricity for outdoor afternoon and evening activities
- Those providing services for disabled young people are worrying about how their young people who have more energy intensive needs for their physical wellbeing can be supported, as well as for the equipment they use
- Youth workers are picking up more and more work, but with less recognition, and their volunteering base is on the decline
- Parents are now also seeking out support from youth organisations, particularly with problematic behaviour of their children
- Young people are seeking out food in greater numbers from clubs, and for some this is now the primary reason for attending the youth club session
- Social anxiety and withdrawal are being exacerbated for many young people subject to different pressures in the home environment, affecting their wellbeing; some are arriving at clubs in kit that is unwashed or smelling of damp.
Below are some initial verbatim comments from youth workers around the central themes.
The overall impact of young people coming out of the pandemic
Energy and transport costs
Demands on the youth sector workforce
Support for the sector
We will continue to reach out to members in networks and focus groups on an ongoing basis to ensure we reflect emerging priorities in our collective positions for London.
We will also be signposting to members a series of cost of living resources to support their work with young people over the coming months.
For more general support the Mayor of London has set up a GLA cost of living hub, which can be accessed here >
Please do reach out to policy and membership team leads if you wish to engage with us on this programme of activity. You can contact either Clare MacNamara at firstname.lastname@example.org or Lee Ritchie at email@example.com