Two thirds of youth charities facing rising demand despite cuts to their income

The extent of the financial and service delivery challenges facing youth charities has been revealed.

According to a survey of more than 1,700 youth organisations, two thirds (66%) have seen a rise in demand, while 83% have seen their income dip.

The specific costs of supporting young people since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic has increased too, according to more than half (57%) of those surveyed.

Mental health, emotional wellbeing are among areas seeing increasing demand, with digital support being increasingly used to help young people amid the pandemic.

The survey has been carried out by the charity UK Youth, which had previously found that almost two thirds (64%) of youth organisations are at risk of closure within the next 12 months.

UK Youth has already handed out around £2m to more than 100 youth organisations to help them deliver support during the pandemic through its Covid Relief fund.

More than 1,000 youth organisations applied for this Covid funding.

The charity says that the collective funding needed from all youth organisations surveyed is more than £52m.

Rising costs and demand for support amid the pandemic “has hit youth organisations in the shadow of 10 years of extreme cuts”, said UK Youth chief executive Ndidi Okezie.

“The impact of the pandemic has had a devastating effect on young people and the safe spaces that support millions of them,” she said.

“Many organisations across the youth sector have shown great resilience, trying to adapt and deliver vital services for young people but they still need help.”

Among those supported by UK Youth is the charity Kid’s Cookery School. Its chief executive Fiona Hamilton- Fairley said that without the grant it received “we would not be able to offer our services to so many different communities”.

Being called for by UK Youth is sustainable financial support for youth services, covering operational costs, recruitment and training as well as adapting services, particularly investment in digital support.

It’s research concludes: “Youth organisations have strived to adapt to a new way of supporting young people, but efforts have been stunted by a lack of funding.

“Furthermore, a reduction in income and increases in costs have depleted the financial resilience of many youth organisations. This has left them in a precarious position.”

According to a November 2020 published report by the National Youth Agency (NYA) two out of three youth charities will not be able to meet costs by March. “A major round of redundancies,” is being predicted early in 2021, added the NYA.

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