Major boost for young people with plans to transform youth centres

New youth centres will be built and old ones refurbished to give young people better access to positive out-of-school activities as part of the next phase of the Youth Investment Fund

  • 12,000 young people to benefit from the redevelopment of 44 youth centres
  • Upgrades funded by £70 million investment from Government’s Youth Investment Fund
  • Plans announced alongside boost to Million Hours Fund meaning youth clubs can provide an extra night a week of youth work provision until 2026

New youth centres will be built and old ones refurbished as part of government plans to give young people better access to positive out-of-school activities as the next phase of the Youth Investment Fund is confirmed.

This follows Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer setting out her vision for the youth sector, that every young person should have “someone to talk to, something to do, somewhere to go.”

The plans will see 44 youth centres share a slice of £70 million Government funding through its Youth Investment Fund.

The funding will help as many as 12,000 extra 11 to 18-year-olds across the country having access to regular, positive activities every year, on top of the thousands of young people who already enjoy these opportunities.

In another boost for young people, The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest community funder in the UK, has today confirmed it will match fund the initial Government commitment of £11 million for the Million Hours Fund bringing the total to £22 million.

Announced in March as part of the Prime Minister’s Anti Social Behaviour Action Plan, the move will mean hundreds of organisations in areas of high anti-social behaviour incidents can stay open for an extra night a week. The support is now guaranteed until March 2026.

Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer said:

"I want every young person to have the opportunity to access the kinds of life-changing activities which expand their horizons and allow them to develop vital life skills.

"These next 44 youth centres will give 12,000 more young people the opportunity to access these activities. Building on the first tranche of Youth Investment Fund investment that is seeing new projects like the Alt Valley Communiversity opening in Liverpool and support for Scouts and Girlguiding groups to reduce their waiting lists.

"We will make sure every young person has someone to talk to, something to do, somewhere to go."

The plans for youth centres announced today will mean young people can take part in activities such as dance, theatre, sport, music and art sessions as well as vital skills and employment training.

The announcement comes after the Culture Secretary laid out her commitment to boost youth services in a speech at the Onward think tank last month.

The investment will target youth services in some country’s most underserved areas where need is high and existing provision is low. The new funding means more than £160 million will have been committed to 87 centres in England since 2021. As many as 300 projects are expected to be built or renovated over the next two years.

Earlier this week the Culture Secretary cut the ribbon to reopen The Alt Valley Communiversity in Liverpool, the first major project to be completed through the Youth Investment Fund. The site received £343,000 to build a new industrial kitchen and an outdoor performance space. It will create more opportunities for skills development and expand its reach to an additional 100 participants a week.

Nick Temple, CEO of Social Investment Business said:

"The Youth Investment Fund is all about prioritising the needs of young people in England and creating a more equal society for future generations. It is wonderful to see how the fund is already transforming young people’s opportunities to experience the joy of local youth services designed for, and by, young people. Today’s announcement means another 12,000 young people can access quality, sustainable and accessible youth clubs.

"It is so exciting to see the first Youth Investment Fund projects open their doors to young people, giving them every opportunity to make friends, have fun, discover their passions, and thrive. And it is just the start: thousands more young people will benefit from new or expanded local youth services, supporting their wellbeing and helping them gain vital skills for life and work."

David Knott, Chief Executive of The National Lottery Community Fund, said:

"We’re delighted to be match funding the Million Hours Fund to bring much-needed additional youth provision and activities to young people across England. Supporting children and young people to thrive is a strategic priority for us as the UK’s largest community funder. We want to thank National Lottery players for making this important investment into improving young people’s prospects and lives possible."

Recipients of the Youth Investment Fund are across England. The full list of beneficiaries include:

  • The 105th Sheffield (High Green) Scout Group has been awarded over £1.8 million, allowing them to demolish and rebuild their Scout Group building. The new site will be bigger and more sustainable, including a new kitchen and outdoor space allowing the Scouts to complete more badge work and learn new skills. This will allow the group to expand its reach from 69 to a potential 267 11-18 year olds.

  • Funding of nearly £974,000 will transform Burnley Boys and Girls Club for generations to come, with the grant allowing them to reach an additional 225 young people a week. The grant will pay for a new roof for their dilapidated sports hall, new outdoor facilities, as well the construction of a new two-storey extension that will house a gymnasium, a chill-out room and three counselling rooms.

  • A grant of over £420,000 will allow The Chichester Shed to renovate its site into a vibrant, safe space, with constant open access youth offer in the evenings and throughout the holidays. An additional 121 young people will be supported, with a custom built space including everything from a community garden to graffiti wall. During the day the site will be used to support young people not engaged in education, employment, or training, supporting their wellbeing, and helping them to gain vital life skills.

This package of measures comes as part of the Government’s ‘National Youth Guarantee’ that, by 2025, every young person in England will have access to regular clubs and activities, adventures away from home, and volunteering opportunities. It is backed by more than £500 million.

Since the launch of the National Youth Guarantee, more than 2,100 additional places have also been created in uniformed youth groups such as Scouts and Girlguiding. As part of the over £16 million of funding allocated for uniformed groups, we will continue to recruit more adult volunteers, to help reduce waiting lists alongside creating additional places for young people.

The Duke of Edinburgh’s award has also been supported, with more than 15,500 participant places being created. It comes after the Government announced it would offer the award to every mainstream secondary state school in England for the first time - supporting young people who may face barriers to taking part, such as not being able to afford kit for outdoor expeditions.

Additional quotes

Alma Mason, Chair of the Board of Trustees at the Alt Valley Communiversity said:

"Young people are crying out for somewhere to go and thanks to the Youth Investment Fund we have been able to upgrade 6 of our centres, to provide state of the art youth facilities including theatre and dance studios, sports pitch and recording and podcasting studios. This will transform youth provision in our communities."

Department for Culture, Media and Sport
The Rt Hon Lucy Frazer KC MP