The Department for Culture, Media and Sport commissioned an independent provider to conduct the youth provision and life outcomes research. They conducted three research projects to address specific evidence gaps:

A study of longitudinal research. The report explores the effects of weekly participation in youth clubs on outcomes later in life. Including education, employment, mental health and life satisfaction.

A study of international evidence. This report is a systematic review and identifies and critically assesses the available international evidence on the impact of youth services.

A study of the local impact of youth clubs. This report explores the effects of reducing youth provision funding on community outcomes in local areas.

The authors conclude:

There is a clear association between participation in youth provision and positive short-term outcomes relating to physical health and wellbeing, pro-social behaviours and education. There is also strong evidence that these short-term outcomes are sustained over decades and, compared with non-participants, people who attended youth clubs continue to score more highly for several of these indicators of wellbeing.

comment: These are really important findings, but sadly set against a backdrop of stark cuts in services since 2010 which have been exacerbated as a result of the pandemic. Hopefully despite the huge funding challenges for LAs, this report will help make an ‘invest to save’ case for increasing youth work provision again.