Skip to content

Invest in and protect youth work services

Image of MSYPs taking part in a group activity, looking at and writing on flip chart paper. Blue tint overlaid with white polka dots in corners.
Posted on

Our stance

“Local youth work should be invested in by national and local government and protected by law from budget cuts.”

72% of young people consulted agreed with this statement.

The current situation in Scotland

The past four years have seen a global pandemic, major disruptions to our education system, increasing concerns about the climate emergency, a growing mental health epidemic, a cost-of-living crisis, and many other changes in our day to day lives. Throughout this time, youth work across Scotland has continued to deliver essential support to thousands of young people, despite increasing funding challenges.

Youth work has undergone significant budget cuts. Between 2016 and 2019 youth services were cut by over £11 million. Since then, data on youth work spending has been unclear, but there have been growing reports from youth workers and young people across Scotland that services are underfunded and closing down. There are fears that this is putting vulnerable young people at risk of losing out on youth work services.

What do MSYPs want to see?

  • Consistent funding across local authorities.
  • More accessible and inclusive spaces.
  • Better frameworks for councils to follow.

What action has SYP taken so far?

In March 2024, a group of MSYPs from island communities spoke with an independent researcher as part of the review into Community Learning and Development. They were asked about their lived experiences of CLD in rural communities and what they think could be done to improve the current offering. SYP also previously responded to the overall consultation on CLD.

Alongside this, SYP’s ‘Youth Work and Me’ report highlighted the importance of youth work in providing young people with opportunities and bringing communities together. However, MSYPs raised budget cuts as well as institutional and cultural barriers as issues facing the youth work sector.

MSYPs have also raised the issue of youth work funding at both our annual Cabinet and Executive Takeover meetings with The Scottish Government over many years.

Our next steps

Campaign Delivery Groups will now be formed where Members will go on to design and deliver each of the three campaigns.


Want to learn more about youth work and the impact it has on young people? Check out these resources:

Sign up to our newsletter

Sign up to our mailing list to get involved in our projects and campaigns.