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Youth work is still essential

As Scottish Youth Work Week comes to an end, it is important to remember that it is crunch time for youth work funding.

While there has never been a clearer need for the skills and positive opportunities that youth work brings to young people's lives, the sector faces the prospect of deep and damaging cuts to its funding.

Local authority youth work service budgets are under threat the length and breadth of the country and there is a danger of a real reduction in public sector financial support for voluntary youth work organisations.

Youth work is an effective way of engaging with young people from all walks of life. This is why YouthLink Scotland has written to politicians and decision-makers across the country, calling on them to show their support for youth work by committing to protect and maintain the funding for these vital services and organisations.

At a national level, the government must also now provide more detail in relation to the new Third Sector Early Intervention Fund, which is to replace the previous Unified Voluntary Sector Fund. This is an essential funding stream that national youth work organisations rely heavily upon to provide core funding for their work.

A well-supported, vibrant and dynamic youth work sector is vital in helping to ensure that Scotland truly can be the best place in the world to be young.

Jim Sweeney, chief executive of YouthLink Scotland.

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