Sheffield Futures welcomes Government pledge to invest £500m in youth centres

Sheffield Futures, a charity which offers support to young people in the city around employment and social inclusion, has welcomed news that the Government are to invest £500m in youth centres.

Friday, 4th October 2019, 16:53 pm
Updated Thursday, 10th October 2019, 12:07 pm
The murals by UK artist Marcus Method outside of Woodthorpe Youth Club

Speaking at the Conservative party conference last week, the Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid, said the new £500m Youth Investment Fund would help support young people into work and build new youth centres across the UK.

Further details released by the government said the funding would go towards the creation of 60 new youth centres, refurbish 360 existing youth facilities and provide more than 100 mobile youth facilities for harder-to-reach areas.

Gail Gibbons is the CEO at Sheffield Futures, which helps support young people up to the age of 25 around employment, social inclusion, careers guidance and personal development.

Young people playing games in the new area at Woodthorpe Youth Club

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She said: “We very much welcome this pledge from the Government to invest in much needed youth services.

“After years of significant cuts affecting youth services in the Sheffield and South Yorkshire region, we hope this latest announcement signals the start of sustained long term investment in youth services.

“Investment in good quality youth work is needed now more than ever. In recent years, we have seen the growth in serious youth violence; risk of exploitation; and the rise in young people’s mental health and emotional well-being problems.

“We very much look forward to seeing the details behind this pledge and seeing it come to fruition. We are ready and waiting to welcome this investment in our region and to work collaboratively with partners and young people to make the vision a reality in our communities.”

Snooker at Woodthorpe Youth Club

Woodthorpe is an area of high deprivation, that needs places where young people can meet – one of which is Woodthorpe Youth Club.

Recently its members, along with youth workers from Sheffield Futures, raised money to renovate the space and make it more appealing to young people in the area.

Ash Stewart, 16, is a member of Woodthorpe Youth Club. He said: “I started going to Woodthorpe last September. From the outside the building didn’t look very welcoming, it was run down and not a nice place to go. So we started fundraising and did a sponsored walk and put collection boxes in the local shops.”

“We managed to raise enough for settees and TV’s and had a graffiti artist in to paint the walls,” he added. “It’s now a really good place to go with my friends. It gives us a place to go and stops us from going out on the streets and getting up to no good.

“I think not only should the government invest the £500m in youth centres which are already there, like Woodthorpe, but also use the money to open more. This could reduce crime by providing a safe place for young people to go and get them off the street, putting them on a good path for the future.”