Youth work is being cut to death. Help us to keep it alive.

Government-forced cuts to councils, and the strings that are increasingly attached to Government funding, are destroying youth work.

Our extensive Freedom of Information requests to all of the councils in our region have revealed the extent to which open-access youth work has already been closed down by council youth services.

Council officers have been vague in their responses, but what they have told us is that cuts to youth services over the last 2 years have been well in excess of the general level of cuts imposed on councils by the Chancellor, and the real cuts to proper open-access youth work (what we, you and everyone recognise as youth work) has driven it close to extinction.

Overall cuts to youth services in Sheffield, Rotherham and York have been particularly high and well beyond the national average.

All council responses have hidden the real impact on youth work.  We are told that councils are no longer able to calculate their actual spending on open access youth projects and clubs offering youth work.  The cuts that they are reporting to us are for integrated youth support services, (including careers advice, YOTs and targeted work with young people at risk).  This indicates that the spending on real youth work has almost completely dried up.

Barnsley Council are one of the few to give an honest answer to the question of what they spend on youth work, and the answer is shocking.  This year in Barnsley, only £12 will be spent on youth work for each young person aged between 10 and 19.  We suspect that hidden in the misleading figures we have received, other young people in our region won’t be getting much more.


Budget 2012/13 (£)

Budget 2012/11 (£)

% change


Sheffield 2,554,715 3,559,453 -28% 67,000
York 2,831,668 3,820,770 -26% 23,400
Rotherham CC 1,774,807 2,408,245 -26% 32,100
Hull 3,398,152 4,451,221 -24% 31,500
Doncaster 2,454,100 2,952,070 -17% 35,600
Kirklees 2,657,311 3,193,823 -17% 52,300
Leeds 4,087,590 4,856,380 -16% 93,900
NE Lincolnshire 3,965,081 4,655,700 -15% 20,200
Barnsley 324,902 361,369 -10% 28,000
Calderdale 879,822 933,122 -6% 25,200
East Riding CC 4,990,000 5,154,000 -3% 40,200
North Yorkshire CC 3,580,100 3,580,100 0% 41,000
The following gave no, or partial, information
Bradford No Information No Information No Information 67,100
Wakefield 2,831,668 No Information No Information 39,300

What needs to be done

Firstly, let’s be clear that we think that targeted services (like careers advice for unemployed young people) are really important.  We don’t think that any of these services should be cut, and especially not at a time when many young people are struggling and need all the help they can get.  But these services aren’t youth work.  And youth work matters.

Since 1997, young people have been repeatedly surveyed and consulted at a local, regional and national level as to what they want, need and prioritise.  On every occasion, young people have fed back that high on their priority list is ‘somewhere to go, something to do and someone to talk to for all young people’; or to put it more succinctly, ‘youth work’.  In the face of last year’s riots and the pressure on young people’s pockets to pay for positive recreation, we think it’s crazy to cut youth work to death right now.

What can you do about it?

Help us to keep youth work alive by;

Donating to us to keep youth work going
Doing a sponsored event to raise funds for youth work
Becoming one of our business supporters and partners
Becoming an Associate and getting involved in our campaign work
Email your local council to call for youth work to be kept alive. Find your local MP (and also details on how they vote, and more) or councillor.
Tell us your stories of the threat to youth work in your area or project by filling in this form and we’ll publicise them.
Download and print out this poster, to let people know about the campaign and help it grow.

If you use facebook or Twitter, don’t forget to connect with us to get all the latest campaign news and comment.

Our young people deserve better.  Don’t let the cuts kill youth work.