Youth clubs: Charities warn about centres closing after coronavirus

Last updated at 05:36
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Youth clubs

A leading educational charity has warned that thousands of youth centres across England could close permanently.

The National Youth Agency said 2,000 of the 10,000 youth projects in England will struggle to re-open following the loosening of Covid-19 restrictions.

All youth clubs were forced to temporarily close as part of coronavirus lockdown measures announced in the United Kingdom back in March.

They were free to re-open on 29 June but with major social distancing restrictions in place, including the number of people allowed in venues at one time.

Social clubs are an important place for young people to go when they're not at school, especially during the summer holidays.

However, coronavirus social distancing rules mean that a lot of clubs are only able to operate at 10% their normal capacity.

The National Youth Agency said that one million young people have been missing from youth centres this year when compared to previous years.

New data from the charity London Youth also found that almost a third of the youth clubs in the capital city could close within six months.

boy doing boxing training
Youth workers help children get into sports or creative activities outside of schools and home

Mervyn Kaye, from Youth First, a youth organisation which runs Honor Oak Youth club in South London, told the BBC: "We normally welcome 150 kids every summer at each site.

"The restrictions mean we can only see 15 in bubbles. We're turning children away at the door.

"We have money from the council until March but we don't know what's going to happen after that.

"We also rely on income we raise from rentals, so our sites we rent out for weddings and functions and community events. All of that is gone."

girl at youth club.

A spokesperson from the UK government's Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport said: "We are absolutely committed to supporting young people in these challenging times.

"Grants are being provided to youth organisations from the National Lottery community fund, Sport England and Arts Council England."

The government also said it's providing £500 million to be invested in youth services.

Around the UK

In Scotland, voluntary youth services said they're facing an immediate income loss of £20 million.

In Wales, while most centres have been able to reopen, there has been reported losses of £9 million.

The Youth Work Alliance in Northern Ireland said while online services have helped, the legacy of Covid-19 risks young people's wellbeing and needs urgent action.

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  • I hope my youth group reopens it is held at my church and if It dosen't I wont be able to see my best friend and I really miss her :(
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