To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether her Department is taking steps to support (a) the Staffordshire Council of Voluntary Youth Services and (b) other voluntary organisations with providing (i) training and (ii) other development opportunities for young people.
Local Authorities have a statutory duty to allocate funding to youth services in line with local need. This is funded from the Local Government settlement, which was over £12 billion last year. DCMS officials are currently reviewing the statutory duty and its associated guidance to assess its effectiveness after a call for responses from key youth stakeholders. We will publish the outcomes of the review in due course.
The Government recognises the vital role that youth services and activities, including of the type supported by the Staffordshire Council of Voluntary Youth Services, play in improving the life chances and wellbeing of young people. The Government has committed to a National Youth Guarantee: that by 2025 every young person will have access to regular clubs and activities, adventures away from home and volunteering opportunities. This is supported by a three year £560 million investment in youth services, reflecting young people's priorities and addressing the inconsistencies in regional youth spending, with a firm focus on levelling up, including the £368 million Youth Investment Fund, for which over 20 wards in Staffordshire are eligible to apply.
To support the youth sector workforce, DCMS funds the National Youth Agency to set professional standards, qualifications and a curriculum for youth work, including a new youth work apprenticeship and free-to-access training, all of which are available to young people. DCMS has delivered a Youth Worker Bursary Fund with the NYA since 2019, distributing approximately £1.9 million facilitating over 1,700 individuals who would otherwise be unable to afford it to undertake training in Level 2 and 3 Youth Work qualifications. A further £1 million has been committed for FY 22/23.
Additionally, through the £7.4 million Volunteering Futures Fund, DCMS has created thousands more volunteering opportunities to improve accessibility of volunteering in the arts, culture, sports, civil society, youth and heritage sectors. The fund is helping a diverse range of people to access the benefits volunteering can bring. There is a strong focus on young people, those experiencing loneliness, those with disabilities and those from ethnic minority backgrounds.
From 2023 onwards, the reformed NCS programme will offer a year-round choice of opportunities to young people, with a focus on skill development and volunteering. NCS will work with and fund a range of partners, including grassroots volunteering organisations, to deliver the programme across the country.