Cuts to youth services across London leave centres appealing online for help

Sadiq Khan speaks to students at a youth centre. Pic: Mayor of London

Government funding for youth centres throughout east London has declined by 44 percent since 2011, according to a Green Party report.   

Due to these cuts, some youth centres have been forced to make appeals on online fundraising websites for help.  

Since 2011, £39m has been cut from youth services in London according to the report, The London’s Lost Youth Services by Green Party co-leader Sian Berry.  

Berry concludes: “The cumulative amount not spent on services for young people in London is now more than £145 million”. 

Across London  youth service budgets for this financial year have declined by 44 per cent, continuing a trend from 2011.

Map of youth centres across London. Pic: Sian Berry

Out of the ELL boroughs, Lewisham has already reported a £200,000 decrease in funding for youth centres. Tower Hamlets’ funding has remained at £3.9m this year. Hackney and Croydon have not made any announcements on youth service funding.  

Croydon has shown a 89 per cent decrease in funding in the past three financial years while Tower Hamlet’s budget has decreased by 74 per cent and Lewisham has experienced a 41 per cent decrease.

Berry said only six of the 30 boroughs she received information from has had an increase in budgets from 2016-17 to 2017-18. Hackney is one of the six,  netting over £6m from the Government for youth centre projects,  a 3 per cent increase from the previous financial year.

Despite the money, centres such as The Yard and Knights Youth Centre have gone to websites like Just Giving and the BigGive to raise their funds for projects. Companies like The Yard fund their centres from local authority funding, trusts foundations and local businesses.

Theatre charity, The Yard, have started to use the donating website, The BigGive, to fund their project Hub67.  This project is a fully-accessible community centre in Hackney Wick where they welcome nearly 6,000 children, residents and visitors.  The aim for The Yard’s project was to raise £12,000. They have managed to raise £13,432. 

Line graph illustrating change in youth service budget; Hackney did not provide data for the 2015-16 financial year. Pic: Victoria Brush

To try and counter the decrease in funding, A Young Londoners Fund was created by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Kahn, earlier this year.  This £45m grant will support education and cultural activities. 

Starting in April of this year, £10m has been given to local communities, charities and schools and £5m will be given to existing projects funded by City Hall. 

Projects such as Khulisa in Croydon, St Paul’s Cathedral Choir in Hackney and Freedom from Torture have already benefited from the funding.

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