Jon Cruddas MP for Dagenham and Rainham highlights “critical” role played by Youth Workers in the face of overwhelming Government cuts.

In support of Youth Work Week 2020 Jon Cruddas has sounded the alarm as youth centres and organisations face breaking point during the Coronavirus crisis.

Demand for youth work has trebled since the start of the pandemic, with young people losing access to many other support structures. Youth work provides open-access support, guidance and non-formal education to young people across the UK, with a safe space for young people to go to, things to do and someone to talk to who knows what is needed.

The Government have cut youth services by over 70% in less than a decade, with youth centres closing down, training placements reduced and a loss of 4,500 youth workers since 2012. Whilst youth services have seen a £1bn cut in real terms since 2010, we are seeing a rise in the complex challenges faced by young people today.

Jon stated: “Young people are set to be hugely disadvantaged by Coronavirus for decades to come, exacerbating mental health challenges, hitting younger workers’ jobs and pay, and widening educational inequalities.

“After a decade of Tory governments, young people were already facing stagnating wages, rising debt, and slashed youth services, with record-high levels of poor mental health. Whilst Covid-19 has impacted all aspects of society, young people have been most acutely affected.

“Youth services are a vital lifeline, particularly at this time of crisis, often standing as the only safe space or source of positive contact in a community for young people to access. Youth services perform a critical function in our communities, providing support away from school, with guidance from trusted, skilled professionals.”