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Saving our youth clubs is vital

Government funding cuts mean that our communities are suffering more than ever as money for the needs of the public becomes more and more scarce. Among these needs is government funding for youth cubs and organisations (important inclusive spaces) which are now struggling to accommodate young people’s needs.

Why do we need youth clubs?

This week is national Youth Work Week so I started thinking about the importance of local youth clubs. which are decreasing in number. Youth clubs provide a safe space for young people to gather, socialise and develop important skills of collaboration, leadership and communication, all of which will be of great assistance when entering the working world. According to a study carried out by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), regular group activities with well-defined aims help young people to develop better social and emotion skills. Government funded youth-clubs and organisations offer this to young people for little to no charge making them a vital part of society.

These clubs also help to prevent youth crime as young people spend their free time engaging in constructive activities like sport, music and drama giving them a community to belong to and a constructive way to spend their time. Additionally youth clubs can offer the opportunity for young people to make a positive contribution to their community, meet and mix with other young people in their community perhaps from different background and cultures.

What is the problem?

It has become clear that young people from deprived backgrounds and unstable home environments are much more likely to be juvenile offenders and with government funding being so hard for these organisations to come by, activities can only be run with perhaps donations from the community and fees that need to be paid by parents. Therefore, the young people who need these organisations the most, due to economic circumstances, will not be able to pay and hence, are denied the services that they need the most. Government funding for these inclusive spaces is therefore essential.

Do youth clubs and organisations really help young people?

In the experience of one resident of Sutton: “The youth group my son has been going to is absolutely wonderful. He learns drama and theatre skills with other people his age and there’s no competition like at school where he’s worried about his grades or his exams and finds it difficult to talk to the others. I’ve noticed he’s more confident and talkative at home and I’m so grateful because I know he has something good to do in his free time to take the stress of school and exams away”.

Clearly the youth group in question has had a big effect in the life of this young person and probably many more. However without the essential funding, none of this would have been possible.

What can we do?

One of the easiest ways to help is to donate to a youth group or community centre near you. Every donation makes a difference and will help to keep the activity running making a vital difference in the lives of young people.

Our youth clubs and youth organisations are an integral part of reducing some of the many challenges facing young people and without them some young people would really struggle. Let’s keep them running so they can continues to do this essential work for our young people.

Maya Sankaran is a Groundwork Young Green Ambassador.

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