Sian Berry at Barnfield Youth Centre

News from Siân Berry: Time to save youth services from the brink

20 March 2018

Young people are being shut out as 81 London youth clubs and council youth projects have closed their doors since 2011, reveals a new report from Sian Berry. [1]

Sian’s latest research report, London’s lost youth services 2018, has new figures from councils that show the total amount lost from youth services in London, which would have been spent in the last seven years if budgets had stayed at 2011-12 levels, is now £145 million. Annual cuts since 2011 now exceed £39 million.

Sian has been laying bare the deep cuts to council youth services across London and calling on the Mayor to act since 2016 – and last month he pledged £45m over three years to help. [2]

Sian Berry says:

Young people have been seeing devastating cuts to their services for too long. I hope this is the lowest point London’s youth services ever reach and that real investment is put back in from now on. 

While I’m glad the Mayor has committed some desperately needed money to young people it can’t all be spent on crime-related issues. It should be used positively to build up young people, help them flourish and develop skills they will need for life.

The Government offered a token handout last year for a few youth clubs in East London but this is nowhere near enough to reverse the damage inflicted by austerity, they must make youth services a statutory service and give money to councils to pay for them.

We need to get these services back on track but there’s a long, uphill road ahead.

Sian Berry’s newest report contains an interactive map showing where clubs have closed. [3]

Findings also show:

  • At least £39 million has been cut from council youth service budgets across London
  • Overall, there has been a 44 per cent youth service budget cut, with the average council taking £1.5 million out of youth services over this time
  • Across 25 councils with like-for-like data, 81 youth centres and major council-supported youth projects have been cut
  • Across 22 councils with like-for-like data, 800 youth service full-time posts have gone. 

At least a further £1.2 million is being cut from 15 councils in 2018/19 budgets. Since 2011, the cumulative amount not spent on services for young people in London is now more than £145 million.

Notes to editors

Report contains borough breakdown of council funding.

[1] London’s lost youth services 2018, Sian Berry, Mar 2018
[2] Mayor’s press release about youth funding

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