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10 November 2021

The  NYA Census has just been released with early finding from its April-July 2021 survey.   The National Youth Agency survey drew from a thousands of youth organisations across England as part of a wider two-year programme of research and data analysis.  This will scope priority areas for young people and youth work.

Inequalities between localities  

Disturbingly the data reveals that the level of provision available to young people is hugely dependent on where they live:

  • there is twice as much youth provision in the most affluent areas as opposed to the most deprived areas,
  • 50% more buildings are  purpose built for, or dedicated towards, young people in affluent areas.
  • young people living in areas of deprivation have less access to youth clubs and organisations than their peers in affluent areas.  These areas are more likely to be served by the Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS).
  • 1 in 4 youth organisations in  these deprived areas are m have a waiting list of at least one month for their service

Mental Health support 

What is also clear from these returns is that the VCS leads is the lead provider of universal services for grassroots organisations to keep their doors open. Local Authority provision is more focused upon targeted delivery of services.

Mental health and wellbeing of young people is, unsurprisingly, the overwhelming priority within  targeted provisioning.  Two-thirds (66%) of all VCS organisations are offering a programme of support towards this including the majority of London Youth members,  and 4 in 5 (81%) of local authorities are doing likewise.

Operational resilience

Organisations were asked about the level of reserves they held which would allow them to operate as normal.

  • One quarter (23%) report fewer than 6 months of reserves.
  • A further third (35%) would be able to operate normally for between 6 months and a year.
  • One in five (20%) could do so for more than 12 months.
  • One in ten (9%) of organisations do not know how long their organisation would be able to operate for as normal with their current levels of reserves.

London Youth membership survey 

Our own membership survey from September 2021 reflects the financial fragility of the sector.  Over 40% of  our members surveyed feared that would not have sufficient funds to operate by this time next year.

Our findings also underline the reasons why the £368 million announced in the Spending Review should not be exclusively directed towards the building of new clubs at the expense of sustaining existing ones.  We will continue to press the case  for a further review of the balance of spend.

For more information, contact Clare MacNamara, London Youth Policy Manager: clare.macnamara@londonyouth.org

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