Dormant asset cash 'needed to create £300m youth mental health fund', say charities

The Back Youth Alliance of youth charities wants to see the planned revamp of the Dormant Assets Scheme include investment in a £300m fund to improve young people’s mental health.

Their proposed Youth Potential Fund would focus on improving young people’s access to clubs and activities that build confidence, self-esteem and skills.

Increasing access to outdoor learning is also a priority for the Youth Potential Fund, which can also be used to train 10,000 more youth workers and 30,000 more volunteers as well as develop local partnerships of professionals that work with children.

“This will ensure young people, particularly those most in need, are aware of and able to access the services and opportunities needed through better joining up of provision and investment,” said the Back Youth Alliance.

The focus on mental health is especially important due to the impact of the Covid pandemic on young people’s wellbeing. Latest figures show that one in six children have a probable mental health problem post pandemic.

This Fund should be delivered by a coalition of youth organisations with UK wide reach to ensure finding can “begin flowing quickly” to local youth groups to deliver “life changing impact and change where it’s needed most”, says the Alliance, whose members include YMCA, UK Youth, British Youth Council, OnSide and the National Youth Agency.

The Alliance’s Youth Potential Fund proposal is part of its response to the government’s consultation over plans to double the Dormant Assets Scheme’s size.

It has already released £892m of money in unclaimed bank and building society accounts to support good causes, including youth issues, financial inclusion and social investment.

But under the Dormant Assets Act 2022 it is to include a further £880m for good causes to include assets from insurance, pensions and investment sectors.

The government’s consultation, which closes on October 9, also considers changing the focus of the fund in England, with documents highlighting government commitments around levelling up and climate change.

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