Let’s make a change together! Save the Future Generation of Wales!
Firstly, I have a question for you. What sort of impression do you have regards the term ‘youth work’? Do you have any memories related with the word? For some of you it may remind you playing some sports or pool with your mates in your home town. Others might remember having talked with your friends in a comfortable atmosphere. Some of you may not come up with any ideas. If you are one of those, don’t worry since you are reading my article. What I mean is the services provided by theSprout, which you are currently using, is actually a part of youth work. Youth work is, in fact, much closer to our daily life than you might have thought.
Severe budget cuts in Cardiff and Wales
According to a report released by Welsh Government in October 2016, it stated that approximately one in five young people in Wales were involved in some kind of youth work in 2015-16. However, the budget for youth work in the statutory sector both in Cardiff and Wales have decreased gradually. Between 2012 and 2013, the average money spent on a young person in Wales £73. However, that dropped to £54 from 2015 to 2016. The figures for Cardiff also declined from £56 to £38 over the same time period.
But the real problem is…
Apart from severe budget cuts surrounding youth work, there is another problem, which I want to raise here. It’s that individual local authorities have the different priorities when it comes to financial resources for youth work.
The Welsh Government allocate certain amount of money for youth work to 22 local authorities in Wales individually through a funding called the Revenue Support Grant. However, the financial resources from this particular grant are not always spent appropriately on youth work because of the different priorities which individual local authorities have. They need to consider their priorities of expenditures in accordance with the demands, which differ from one another.
“It is crucial for society to invest in young people and give them as many opportunities as possible…”
As a result of that, often the budget for youth work is not distributed properly and is seen as a low priority. This means less money than the notional allocation set by the government is received. This is because there is no legal obligation for local authorities to distribute the financial resources to youth work to the same amount as the notional allocation. In fact, this particular issue has already been mentioned in a report, which released in December 2016.
Then, what can we do?
It would be a tough job for every local authority to decide their own priorities of expenditure, as budget cuts are widespread for many of the services they provide to its local people. Despite this, it is crucial for society to invest in young people and give them as many opportunities as possible to improve themselves in accordance with their own individual ability and interests.
Save the Future Generation of Wales (SFGW) is the name of the petition in the campaign to ensure financial resources for youth work in statutory sector all across Wales, from cities to rural areas. We need to request the Welsh Government to make sure that at least 50% of the money to be spent on youth work is spent appropriately with introducing partial hypothecation.
This would, for instance, essentially prevent closures of youth centres in Wales. Places where you might have regularly spent an enjoyable time with your friends playing sports, chatting over topics in daily life or even carrying out a project in your local community. If you are concerned about the closure of a youth centre in your home town, then please support this petition through signing it. Your support is precious and indispensable to save the future generation of Wales! Let’s make a change together!
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