Today, OnSide attended an emergency knife crime summit called by the Prime Minister in the wake of an increasing amount of fatal knife attacks across the country.
The ‘positive activities for young people’ roundtable brought together ministers, community leaders, agencies and victims of knife crime to help the government explore what can be done to address root causes and disrupt youth violence in local communities.
We are grateful to be part of such important discussions around this pressing issue and emphasised the vital role our ten Youth Zones across the country play in providing a safe environment for young people to spend their leisure time.
Youth service provision has been eroded in areas where it is needed most, particularly those with high levels of socio-economic deprivation.
Latest figures suggest that between 2012 and 2016, over 600 youth centres closed equating to around 139,000 youth service places for young people nationally. London alone has lost over 100 youth clubs since the 2011 riots.
OnSide is about to open its first three London Youth Zones in 2019, representing a capital investment of £20 million alone.
A further £4 million annual investment in operating costs will be made through our innovative multi-sector funding model, which combines funding from local authorities, philanthropists, businesses, charitable grants and revenues generated by the Youth Zones themselves.
Kathryn Morley, CEO of OnSide Youth Zones, said: “We strongly urge the government to make a substantial, long-term investment in universal youth provision.
“The impact it has across health, wellbeing, attainment and crime prevention makes it an essential component in addressing some of the most pressing issues facing young people, communities and wider society.
“Whilst we’re making great strides with the support of forward-thinking local authorities, businesses and philanthropists, much more needs to be done to reverse a period of shocking decline, with over 600 youth centres closing nationally between 2012 and 2016
“Government must act as the engine room, providing the framework and means to dramatically increase the scale and quality of accessible activities for young people, especially those from disadvantaged and low-income families.
“As a society, we owe it to this and future generations to collectively make a bold and substantial commitment.”