YouthLink reveals findings from its latest access survey
Only 22% of youth work organisations and services across Scotland have full access to facilities, despite Scottish Government guidance enabling indoor face-to-face youth work to resume.
YouthLink Scotland revealed the findings as part of its access survey report.
It found that in general, local authority youth work services have better access than third sector youth work organisations.
Access to faith-based centres (e.g church halls) is more limited than the charity’s survey last year suggested, with this having a particular impact on organisations like Girlguiding and Scouts.
It has contributed to a 61% report a drop in youth participation and significant direct detrimental impacts on young people, the report warns.
Tim Frew, CEO of YouthLink Scotland said: “The issue of facilities access is going to be felt most keenly as we move from summer to autumn, as it may preclude or severely limit youth work services running at all.
“The messages from the sector around variability of access to premises are stark, and a concerted effort is needed to support a safe return to more facilities as soon as possible.
“This is likely to impact on both national and local government ambitions as we go forward, there is no doubt that, unless resolved, it will further impact on youth mental health, learning loss, isolation and employment prospects.”
Mary Q Burnside, youth worker at Granton Youth Project said: “We have been impacted as we are based in a council owned building which has been closed since March 2020. Counselling staff are conducting sessions outside and when the weather is bad in covered car parks!
“Partners have been great in offering us space but clearly their own programmes are given priority and we have to fit around that – sometimes with staff and young people turning up to locked buildings and impromptu sessions having to take place outside.”