66% of youth organisations see increase in demand for services as funding drops

26 Feb 2021 News

Youth organisations have experienced a substantial increase in demand for services against a rapid decrease in funding, UK Youth has found.

Its report, The Impact of Covid-19 on England’s Youth Organisations, reveals the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on youth services. Two thirds, have seen an increase in demand, while  83% of youth organisations reported that their income decreased.

More than half, 57%, also report that the cost of delivering their services to young people has increased since Covid-19 hit.

At the beginning of November 2020, UK Youth launched the inaugural UK Youth Fund – Covid Relief. A £2m pot backed with funding from the Department for Digital Culture Media and Sport, Pears Foundation and Paul Hamlyn Foundation as part of the government's £750m charities package.

A total of 1,759 youth organisations took part in the data collection. These organisations reached more than two million young people per year before the pandemic. 

During the application process, UK Youth collected data to build a picture of the state of youth services today to address the lack of insight into where specific needs lie in the wake of the pandemic. 


The report shows that Covid-19 has a substantial negative impact on young people, particularly regarding their wellbeing and mental health. This has meant that youth organisations are seeing an increase in demand for their services. 

In many cases, youth organisations are not able to meet the substantial demand for their services. Therefore, organisations reported an urgent need for funding to prevent permanent closure.

The pandemic was found to be making small charities most vulnerable. The report reads: “The immediate financial status of smaller youth organisations is highly concerning and must be addressed quickly.” 

Those with an income of less than £50,000 are more likely to be temporarily closed, 26% report being temporarily closed as opposed to an average of 19%.

In total UK Youth awarded £1,839,652 to 118 organisations from a total of 1,169 eligible applicants. 

The data is representative of small and smaller medium-sized organisations within the youth sector, as 94% of participating youth organisations reported an income of less than £250,000 in the last financial year. 

‘We cannot let young people fall through the net’

Ndidi Okezie, chief executive of UK Youth, said “The Covid-19 pandemic has hit youth organisations in the shadow of 10 years of extreme cuts. The impact of the pandemic has had a devastating effect on young people and the safe spaces that support millions of them. Many organisations across the youth sector have shown great resilience, trying to adapt and deliver vital services for young people but they still need help.

“This data shows us two-thirds of respondents are at risk of closing over the next twelve months. The gruelling consequences of Covid-19 have gone on for longer than any of us could have imagined. As a sector at the front line of supporting the most vulnerable young people, more funding support is needed now. We cannot let young people fall through the net because crucial services were allowed to disappear.”

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