Skip to main content

Youth Opportunity Fund

Volume 472: debated on Tuesday 26 February 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Youth Opportunity Fund and Youth Capital Fund, with particular reference to hard-to-reach and disadvantaged children and young people who are not involved in formal organisations. (189028)

The Youth Opportunity and Capital Funds (YOF and YCF) were established in April 2006 as complementary, universal funds operating under a single management framework. The funds demonstrate how innovative and creative young people can be when they are truly empowered, delivering a wide range of high quality projects and activities.

Interim findings from the independent evaluation of the funds were published in July 2007: Research report number DCSF-RR004 is available on the DCSF's website. The research found that the funds were meeting their objective to give young people a voice through consultation and control over resources. Local authorities had involved young people in the design and development of the funds, with young people involved as decision-makers.

Overall, around 570,000 young people have benefited directly from the funds. In addition, management information shows that over a third of the young people involved as decision makers or project leaders were from traditionally disadvantaged groups. The guidance for the funds is clear that particular care should be taken to encourage those groups who face barriers to participation. This includes young people from low income families, young disabled people, young care leavers, looked after young people, young offenders, young carers, young refugees, young lesbians and gay men, young black and minority ethnic people, travellers and those in rural areas.

On the basis of this evidence it was agreed in comprehensive spending review 2007 that the funds should continue until at least 2011, at the current rates of funding with an additional £25 million of new investment being made available in the most disadvantaged communities.