Sian Berry at Barnfield Youth Centre

News from Siân Berry: Young Londoners hit by summer youth service postcode lottery

23 August 2018

New data released by Sian Berry AM shows that funding for youth summer programmes has been cut by 17 per cent since 2013 and remaining services vary massively between boroughs.  
Summer holiday youth programmes are provided by councils for young people to attend over the six week holiday. However, new data obtained by Sian Berry from London councils shows that at least £150,000 has been removed from summer holiday youth programme budgets since 2013/14, with data provided by 12 councils. [1]
The cuts mean a 17 per cent drop in funding over five years. Although this is less than the 36 per cent overall cuts to council youth service budgets in London, exposed in Sian Berry’s recent research, this is still a major loss of funding for young people when they most need support. [2] 

This year, councils are only spending an average of £72,000 each on summer holiday youth service budgets. 

Today’s findings show: 

•    Bromley and Greenwich council have reduced budgets by the largest amount in cash terms – both have cut around £85,000 from summer youth programmes since 2013/14
•    The highest percentage cuts were by Ealing (80 per cent) and Bromley (78 per cent). In Ealing, this is greater than the overall cut to universal youth budgets. Earlier research showed that Ealing has cut 50 per cent of youth service funding since 2011/12.
•    In contrast, some councils have increased summer youth funding in recent years. Haringey has increased support by £95,000 and Merton has added £18,000 since 2013/14.

The cuts have made the postcode lottery faced by young people this summer worse, with huge differences between what is on offer from each borough. Sian has produced a map from the data which shows budgets vary hugely between boroughs. [3]

•    The best funded summer youth programme is in Greenwich, with £242,400 being spent.
•    Total spending in Havering is just £4,000, and Ealing is now spending just £7,100 a year since cuts in 2014/15.

 Sian Berry says:

Now more than ever, young people in London need good quality summer holiday activities. Getting access to positive opportunities and inspiring places to go over the summer shouldn’t be a postcode lottery for young people.
These activities do not cost a huge amount. I know councils are cash strapped but young people should be a priority for every borough – not just the handful that have put extra funding in. The councils that have cut back on summer programmes need to look at the potential harm they are doing and think again.
The Mayor has put some extra funding into summer holiday youth programmes his year which will help, but councils need to play their part too.

In the weeks leading up to the summer, Sian also conducted online research to find out how easy it was to find details on council websites of their summer programmes available to young people. This found that only 12 out of 32 councils are clearly advertising their summer programmes. [4]

Summer youth service budget cuts since 2013/14


Notes to editors

[1] 23 councils responded to the Freedom of Information request submitted on 29 July 2018 but only 12 councils could separate the summer holiday budget from the total youth service provision in the data they provided – see table below.

[2] London’s Lost Youth Services 2018. Sian Berry, Mar 2018. 
Sian’s ongoing research shows that cuts have reached 36 per cent since 2011/12
[3] Map of Councils summer holiday activities budgets 
[4] This research looked at borough websites in July and tried to find material promoting summer programmes on front pages and through search terms.

FOI response: Council summer holiday budgets 

FOI responses: council summer holiday budgets

Councils that responded but could not separate summer school holiday budgets were: Bexley, Harrow, Hillingdon, Lewisham, Kingston and Richmond, Newham, Redbridge, Southwark, and Tower Hamlets
Councils that did not respond to the request were: Enfield, Hackney, Hounslow, Islington, Hammersmith & Fulham, Kensington & Chelsea, Wandsworth, Westminster

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