02 September 2020
The House of Lords’ COVID-19 Committee has called for evidence on its Life Beyond COVID Inquiry, which closed on Sunday 31st September 2020.
Read our full response below.
We had the following key messages:
- London Youth notes how vital youth work is in the lives of many young people, including some of the most vulnerable in London. Community youth organisations have made huge efforts to adapt their services to changing public health needs and have continued throughout the pandemic to deliver this vital support to the young people and the wider communities that they work with. As COVID-19 and its consequences continue, these services will only increase in importance for young Londoners.
- London Youth has serious concerns about the financial sustainability of the youth sector. It is particularly important for charities to be funded in the mid-term of the next 6-12 months, as emergency funding and Government supports comes to an end. It should be a priority to provide community youth organisations unrestricted funding to meet core running costs and to respond to changing public health needs.
- London Youth has welcomed the response by funders in London to the pandemic, as well as increased cooperation and partnership in the youth sector and with statutory partners. We would like to see this collaborative method of working for the benefit of young Londoners and the organisations that support them to continue beyond COVID and, wherever reasonable, to be formalised.
- London Youth considers that it is vital to address the long-running crisis of funding in the youth sector, which has only been exacerbated by this pandemic. We are repeating our call for youth services to be given strong and clear protection in legislation and for the commitment of long-term and ringfenced funding based on local youth populations to be allocated to each local authority. We support the recent recommendations for strengthening the youth sector made by the cross-party Youth Violence Commission.
- London Youth has serious concerns about the significant and disproportionate effects of COVID-19 on youth employment and young people’s futures. We are particularly concerned about the likelihood of further entrenching pre-existing inequality and racial disparity in the employment market. We support a greater role for community youth organisations in supporting young people into good and sustained employment.
- The mental health and wellbeing of young people should be a priority in the response to COVID-19. Before the pandemic, youth workers had long reported that they are acting as frontline mental health support for young people unable to access mental health support through statutory services, such as CAMHS. Youth organisations have played a critical role in supporting young people’s wellbeing, preventing social isolation, providing positive activities, and supporting young people during the pandemic.
About the consultation
In the first inquiry for this Committee, they have invited people to share their hopes and fears about what the pandemic might mean in the long-term for our home and working lives, and for how we function as a society – what might it mean for social cohesion, for (in)equality, for our environment or for arts and culture?
The call for evidence included these questions:
- Are there any positives you would take from this pandemic?
- What are the things that you are most worried about?
- What do you most hope changes for the better?