Without prompt, significant and sustained support and investment into the sector, the current Coronavirus pandemic will result in serious and long-term damage to children and young people’s lives.
These are the findings of a report written for DCMS by the Young Manchester Partnership titled the ‘State of the Youth and Play Sector in Manchester: Risks and Challenges During Covid-19’.
DMSF is proud to be one of the partners from across Manchester that has come together to champion youth social action in communities across the city, and we fully support the reports’ recommendations:
- Investment in the youth and play sector– Whilst we have made progress in Manchester, current funding levels do not meet the need required, and we know this need will grow in the coming months.
- Accessible and high-quality digital engagement– Immediate investment should be focused on how we remove the barriers to access and inclusion for all young people to engage in the digital offer, ensuring that current digital engagement is quality-assured.
- Infrastructure– Funding strategies and government investment should ensure adequate support for infrastructure at local levels, using existing organisations and structures alongside growing the reach of infrastructure models where needed (e.g. Young People’s Foundations).
- Support to build back, better– Partners locally and nationally have been calling for further support for the youth and play sector and welcomed the announcement that £500m will be invested in youth services in October 2019. This funding is needed now more than ever, and should be ring-fenced for post-COVID-19, but aligned to the new needs of children and young people and the sector.
- A coordinated response which meets local need – National initiatives, either programmes or funding, should be coordinated in a way which allows for engagement at a local level whilst not creating additional barriers for place-based and thematic organisations.
The report puts forward the business case for more support and investment in youth work, locally and nationally, and you can read the full report below.