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Welsh Government more than doubles youth work funding

JANUARY 13, 2020

The Welsh Government chose Youth Work Week to recognise the important and vital role of youth work and youth services and launched a new Youth Work Strategy and a commitment to more than double youth service funding to over £10 million this year.

The strategy, founded on young people’s voices and developed in collaboration with key partners within the voluntary sector, statutory services, Education Training Standards, Education Workforce Council, and Estyn, sets out a vision for the future of youth work in Wales with 5 key aims ensuring that:

  1. Young people are thriving
  2. Youth work is accessible and inclusive
  3. Voluntary and paid youth professional youth work staff are supported throughout their careers to improve their practice
  4. Youth work is valued and understood
  5. We have a sustainable model for youth work delivery in Wales.

Reaffirming her commitment to achieving these aims, Education Minister, Kirsty Williams said: 

"I want Wales to be a country where young people thrive, with access to opportunities and experiences, in both Welsh and English, which provides enjoyment and enriches their personal development.I look forward to publishing our new Youth Work Strategy on behalf of our young people and partnerships from within the sector. It outlines clearly the positive future we want for youth work in Wales."

Rachel Benson, Equality, Inclusion and Programmes Manager at Youth Cymru, said: 

"Youth Cymru are delighted to be part of this year’s Youth Work Week. This is a valuable opportunity to raise the profile of youth work, celebrate its impact and to come together to share best practice. Young people from Youth Cymru and our member organisations had the opportunity to shape and inform the new Strategy; they spoke about the importance of youth work being accessible, inclusive and providing safe spaces for young people to develop and thrive. We welcome its publication and the vision it sets out."

National Officer for Community and Youth Workers in UniteSiobhan Endean welcomed the new strategy saying "With the rise in violent crime involving young people we know that cutting youth services is a false economy. Crisis intervention that picks up the pieces is far more costly than preventative services. Youth services have been seen by local government as an easy cut to make and this commitment to increased funding recognises the true value of youth work and the important impact it can have on the lives of young people.  We have had nearly a decade of austerity, and have lost a massive amount of youth provision across the home nations."

"We know that good youth work really does make a huge contribution by supporting young people, helping them to develop character and build resilience, and ensuring they have access to opportunities that will help them succeed in life."

She added “When youth services are cut, the lifelines available to young people are taken away. Youth work is a distinct educational process with trusted adults supporting young people’s personal and social development – their values, beliefs, ideas and skills. Young people choose to start the journey, and youth workers are with them every step of the way.”

“It is now time for Government to follow the lead and legislate for a statutory youth service, with dedicated ring fenced funding, and provided by a core of fully qualified youth workers from the statutory and voluntary sector. This requires a massive investment in youth services and a reversal of the cuts that have decimated services for the current generation of young people."

Richard Jackson, Unite Regional Officer Wales said " After nearly a decade of austerity which has seen the decimation of many vital services across the country not just Youth Services, we welcome the increase in funding from the Labour led Welsh Assembly Government. This commitment will not only protect existing services, but enable these to be developed alongside new initiatives that will assist in delivering the new Youth Work Strategy, ensuring the sector has a bright future in Wales."

The Youth Work Strategy for Wales can be downloaded here.

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