One in four youth charities unable to meet running costs by Christmas, report warns

Youth charities are ‘running on empty’ with one in four unable to meet their running costs ahead of Christmas, according to the National Youth Agency (NYA).

A NYA report warns that three quarters of youth charities will have exhausted their reserves by Christmas and all told the youth sector body that their reserves are at risk.

Two out of three will not be able to meet costs by March, with the NYA predicting “a major round of redundancies” over the next three months among youth charities.

The NYA also warns that half of youth charities will not be able to meet operational costs within 12 months, seven in ten have have lost staff capacity and one in three are set to make staff redundant this year.

In addition, three out of four youth charities have lost volunteer capacity.

The funding crisis in the youth sector comes as charities face heightened demand for their services among young people impacted by social distancing guidelines and lockdowns.

Large national youth charities hit by a fall in fundraising income may survive through redundancies and sale of assets “but at great cost in lost capacity and services for young people,” said the NYA.

It added: “The risk to smaller youth charities is more pronounced with furlough or redundancy not an option for much of their workforce, either on casual employment or as volunteers.”

The NYA is calling on the government for urgent funding to train youth workers and volunteers to support vulnerable young people. Additional, ring-fenced funding to secure front line provision is also needed.

Leigh Middleton, NYA chief executive said: “Youth work transforms young people’s lives. Never has this been more important, through the pandemic and the challenges of the global recession. By not taking immediate action, we risk a lost year for our young people, for which we all will pay the price.

“We need to invest in frontline services to support vulnerable young people right now and to put the youth sector on a surer footing, able to grow with young people and transform lives as we rebuild the country together.”

Earlier this month the Scouts announced that 100 jobs are at risk and plans to sell off some of its properties.

Meanwhile, UK Youth announced 14 job losses at its outdoor activity centre.

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