Warwickshire youth service budgets cut by 84 per cent since 2010, according to the YMCA

But Warwickshire County Council (WCC) disputes the figures and says it has made significant investments over the past three years
Warwickshire County Council's headquarters.Warwickshire County Council's headquarters.
Warwickshire County Council's headquarters.

Warwickshire youth service budgets have been cut by 84 per cent since 2010, according to the YMCA.

Its data shows that £24 is spent per 5 to 17-year-old by Warwickshire County Council as of 2020/21.

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This means it ranks 134th out of 167 council areas in England and Wales for expenditure.

But Warwickshire County Council (WCC) disputes the figures and says it says made significant investments over the past three years.

A WCC spokesperson said: "Over the last three years, Warwickshire County Council has invested in Targeted Youth Services.

"In 2020/21 the overall budget for targeted youth services increased by 50 per cent and a £1m youth fund to support community and voluntary organisations was established.

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"At Full Council earlier this month, it was agreed to provide further funding in the next financial year, bringing the total budget for Targeted Youth Services for 2022/23 to £2.4m.

"The county council has also adopted new ways of working which have, so far in 2021/22, supported over 7,500 children and young people by providing contact with the county council targeted youth workers through outreach work in communities and 1,300 children have received one-to-one support from a youth worker."

Warwick and Leamington MP Matt Western says the YMCA figures confirm his fears about Warwickshire’s young people being left behind.

He said: “It is hardly surprising that this past decade has seen such a massive increase in youth violence and anti-social behaviour.

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“The public are rightly angry in rising crime rates and are particularly concerned by the increase in knife crime.

“There are now virtually no services to speak of across the county and the few that are still operating are really struggling given the challenges they face."

The YMCA is the largest provider of youth services in England and Wales.

Youth provision budgets administered by county, city and metropolitan borough councils across England and Wales pay for youth clubs, community centres, after-school education, mental health support, outreach and activities.

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Chief executive of YMCA England and Wales, Denise Hatton, said: “The figures from 2020/21 are especially significant in not only highlighting the localised fallout of a new global crisis, but also the harsh reality of a generation and sector repeatedly devalued by devastating cuts.

“In addition to a decade of funding failures, young people have spent the past two years adjusting to periods of staying at home, limited social interaction, education anxieties, and a whole host of worries like no generation before.

“All young people deserve access to the services capable of empowering them to achieve a bright future. Crucial and proportional investment is needed now.”