Charities call on government to honour £500m funding pledge

Youth charities have joined forces with voluntary sector umbrella bodies and a raft of celebrities to call on the government to free up £500m of funding promised for young people.

The Conservative Party promised in its manifesto to create a £500m Youth Investment Fund ahead of their general election victory a year ago.

But according to a charity led coalition this funding “has still not materialised”.

In an open letter they state: “Many organisations were relying on this funding to invest in vital services to meet the increased needs of young people. Yet these same services are now on the brink of collapse.”

They point to latest figures that suggest two out of three youth charities will not be able to meet costs by March and one in four are unable to meet their running costs ahead of Christmas.

Among charity sector chief executives to sign the letter are ACEVO’s Vicky Browning; The Scouts Matt Hyde; Robin Osterley of the Charity Retail Association and Charity Finance Group ‘s Caron Bradshaw.

Also signing are actors Michael Sheen, Thandie Newton and Kathy Burke.

They want all existing financial commitments for young people, including the Youth Investment Fund, to be honoured. They also want a cross sector recovery strategy to be put in place for young people, which looks at the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on their lives.

Their letter adds that the health crisis has exacerbated inequalities for young people and increased demand for charity services.

“The youth sector gives critical support, providing a lifeline for many vulnerable young people, particularly those living in areas of deprivation.

“A youth worker can listen when no-one else will, a youth centre offers a safe escape, and youth clubs and uniformed youth groups develop skills that can improve life chances,” it adds.

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