Huddleston wants to ‘grow role of volunteering’ among young people

Charities, youth, heritage, sport and tourism minister Nigel Huddleston has indicated he wants to embed young people’s policy across his wide remit.

This includes boosting the role of volunteering in young people's lives, as part of his role as charities minister.

Huddleston replaced charities and youth minister Baroness Barran, after she was moved to the Department for Education amid Boris Johnson’s September reshuffle.

Last month Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) minister Huddleston was asked to absorb Barran’s remit within his existing portfolio, which includes tourism, heritage and sport.

In one of his first public engagements as youth minister Huddleston said he saw "huge potential to embed youth across my wider portfolio”.

This includes “growing the role of volunteering” to involve more young people, as well as “creating a greater join up between youth and sport” and in the arts and digital.

He was speaking about his new role at the National Youth Agency’s Youth Work Summit this week.

He said: “The youth sector is a critical part of so much that DCMS and the whole of government is hoping to achieve. The sector has faced significant challenges in response to the pandemic and young people have sacrificed an incredible amount during this difficult time.

“Thousands of youth workers and volunteers make a tremendous difference to young people’s lives - they build trusted relationships and create opportunities for them to thrive.

“Youth sector activities provide an essential service for young people and communities, while we all know how transformational youth work can be.”

His comments come amid concerns around funding from youth charities.

A survey by the charity UK Youth earlier this year found that two thirds of youth sector organisations had seen a rise in demand, while the majority (83%) had seen their income dip.

Meanwhile, research by the YMCA and the NYA has found that the average net spending per young person for youth services has plummeted from £136 to £54 over the last ten years.

Last month it emerged that youth charities are still waiting to receive £500m promised by the government two years ago through a Youth Investment Fund.

Huddleston’s comments also follow concerns raised by the British Youth Council that his ministerial brief is too wide.

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